Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving week and weekend. My whole family was in town, and all of the Ewers (and former Ewers) came from Oregon and California. I hadn't seen my best friend Shannon in almost a year, and our babies have since grown into toddlers, and had a lot of fun playing together.

Wednesday evening, Josiah and Chloë getting acquainted.

Between our house and my parents' next door, we managed to find a place for everyone to sleep. It was great having everyone together again. Having a Botkin and Ewers Thanksgiving hadn't happened in four years, and it was long overdue.

Josiah and Chloë enjoying breakfast together on Thanksgiving morning.

We had a spread of appetizers while we waited for dinner to start at 2.

The menu was divided up so that everyone brought, cooked, baked, or contributed something. We did a lot of the preparation the morning of, and with two kitchens, it worked really well.

Tim made the mashed potatoes.

Leah sauteed mushrooms.

Dad carved the turkey.

We had Thanksgiving Dinner next door at Mom and Dad's house. They have a big dining room, and we cleared out the living room and set up more tables, so all 21 of us had a place to sit.

Clockwise from left: Joseph Ewers, Isaiah, Katie, Louis Diconti, Mom, Dad, Tom Ewers, Donna Ewers, Leah Olson, and Tim Olson.

Clockwise from far left: Josiah Harlin, Shannon Harlin, Andy Harlin, Laura Ewers, Johanna Ewers, Samuel, Sophie Voisard, Daniel, Bryan, my empty chair, and Chloë.

The toddlers enjoying their dinner.

Josiah wanted to share.

Three generations! Donna, Shannon, me and Mom, and Josiah and Chloë. What a great history of friendship we have.

My fabulous little family.

After everyone's dinner settled a bit, we brought out the pies. (Bottom left is a cherry raspberry pie made from the berries I'd frozen last summer.)

Chloë thought pumpkin pie was just about the best thing ever. Here she is eating her second piece.

One of her first sentences: "I love pie!"

Donna tried to finish the pies, but couldn't quite manage.

And then for the strangest Thanksgiving tradition: Watching "The Fugitive"!

There was a good game of Pictionary.

The next day we had a fun game of Settlers of Catan.

With my daughter, my best friend, and her son. Good times.

Chloë having some "giddyup" time with Tom. We actually have a home video of Tom doing this to me when I just a little bit older.

The kids' favorite toy: the iPhone.

"What do you mean you need your phone back?"

Fun time with the dads.

Getting ready for bed.

Saturday morning.

These two got along so well.

Chloë's last snuggles with Aunt Shannon.

It was a great few days. I really hope we don't have to wait four more years before we can do it again.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Carving Pumpkins

It has been several weeks now since we carved pumpkins for Halloween. I always enjoy it, and this year, Chloë did too!

We didn't actually let her carve, but she sure enjoyed helping scoop out the pumpkin guts.

I've been wanting to do a Bob and Larry for years now, and when I saw this tall skinny pumpkin at the store, I knew this was my chance. (Poor Larry's nose turned out a little funny, but you get the idea.)

I also did a winking face, and Bryan did the cat in the boot.

Here they all are!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Five Years

Friday marked our five year wedding anniversary! To celebrate, we drove to Coeur d'Alene and went to a fabulous bed and breakfast, The Greenbriar Inn. It was the first time we'd ever left Chloë overnight, but Bryan's parents said she couldn't have been happier for the 28 hours we were away. I don't think I'd been away from my little girl for more than about 6 hours, so I really missed her. But we had a great little trip, despite the winter storm warnings and snow on the roads. Having an all-wheel-drive vehicle makes it soo much easier to drive on bad roads. We hit up Starbucks "happy hour" both days (it is a real splurge for us to spend money on fancy coffee), and ate some wonderful food. The on-site restaurant, 315 Tapas, was fabulous. I actually ate so much good food that my body, um, protested. On Saturday we did some shopping, had lunch, got more coffee, and drove home. I was so excited to pick up Chloë at her grandparent's house. She was so happy to see us, and hugged me, put her head on my shoulder, and patted my back for several minutes. She periodically lifted her head up and stroked my face, saying "Maaama." It was so sweet.

Last year, I wrote a little post about the day we got married.

I know I've been slacking a bit on the blog, but I've been fighting an usual amount of migraines (including 4 separate days that had complex migraine symptoms; really unusual for me). I can't figure out why they've been so bad, but the last few days have been good, and I somehow escaped major pain during our trip. So I've done a lot of resting and watching Chloë play.

Now I've been trying to catch up on regular chores and housework. I've started a few Christmas projects, but haven't gotten as much of a head-start as I was hoping. I've almost finished crocheting a baby blanket for Baby #2, but realized I can finish it in January, when the Christmas craziness has passed. Right now we're gearing up to have a house-full for Thanksgiving. My whole family will be here ("here" being my house and my parents' house next door), along with Katie's boyfriend Louis, Daniel's girlfriend Sophie, and all of the Ewers clan, which now adds up to 10. It will be awesome.

Monday, November 14, 2011

17 Months

Chloë is very much a little girl. Sweet and sassy, all in the same moment sometimes.

Tonight at dinner, Bryan and I were laughing hysterically at her frantically shoving pieces of chicken into her mouth, and then doing an open-mouthed teeth-grinding chew. She is hilarious.

If we are trying to get her to eat something she isn't very fond of, she'll hold a bite of food in her mouth for minutes at a time. We're working on that.

She loves brushing her teeth. When it's time to start the bedtime routine, we "get fresh" (what we call changing her diaper), put on jams, and brush teeth. She runs around the house shrieking "Teet! Teet!" in excited anticipation.

Chloë is a really friendly little girl. Whenever we're out and about, she seems to make a point to brighten someone's day; usually just by smiling and waving and saying hi. She really likes to say hi to other kids, and anyone even a tiny bit smaller than she is is a "baby!" She also likes to wave and say hi to to animals, and even inanimate toys and random objects.

A couple of weeks ago, we were hanging out with Ali and Sam, and as usual, Chloë used her extremely sweet and high-pitched voice to talk to baby Sam. At one point, she looked at him, held her arms out, and asked "Up?" So she held her first baby.

She was absolutely smitten. I think she's going to be a wonderful big sister.

She likes to talk on the phone, whether or not there is actually anyone on the other end. In fact, sometimes she comes up with the most elaborate conversations when there isn't anyone there.

She has added so many new words to her vocabulary, I've lost track. A few of my favorites this month are hair bow: "ah-bow," wash: "wash," stuck: "thduck!" apple: "ah-pah," and super "thuper!" It seems like every day she uses a new word that I didn't know she knew. Anything sweet and dessert-like is "cake." Last week her daddy taught her this weird deep growly voice, and she totally loves using it.

She loves books. Sometimes she'll even sit still long enough for me to read one to her. She usually prefers to thumb through them at her own pace, making up her own story.

We pulled her bouncy chair out of the closet a couple of weeks ago, and she really has a lot of fun in it.

(She says "bounce," and then does so while doing a little bit of her fake laugh. Then she sings a little bit of her favorite made-up song "sim-AH, sim ah," and then she gets "duck.")

She is a very sweet girl, offering to share all sorts of things with people she loves. Her food, her toys... we've even caught her offering her sippy cup to the grandparent's dogs.

She is just a very affectionate girl. If I'm not feeling well and resting on the couch, she'll sweetly pat my arm or back or shoulder, sometimes even doing her best impression of her daddy's massages. She'll rest her head close to mine and say "Oh, Mama," and give me little kisses. It absolutely melts my heart.

She is still extremely cuddly, when she's tired, or when she's just being sweet.

She's great at stairs. If I leave the baby gate open, I don't worry. She loves to crawl backwards (or slide feet-first on her tummy) down the stairs, and spend a few minutes exploring and playing by herself. It doesn't take too long for her to get lonely, and she wanders back upstairs to be in the same room I am in.

This month we introduced Chloë to the fun world of drawing. She loves it. I was surprised at how naturally she held her drawing utensil.

She loves to push buttons. I think it may stem from her finger-picking fetish. If she has something with a button or two, she's as happy as a clam for quite a while. Our new car has the little remote lock key ring, and the other day she sat on my bed, happily pushing the buttons over and over for a good 20 minutes. If you offer to share your cell phone with her, she will be your new best friend.

(I think she looks so much like the pictures of her Uncle Samuel when he was a toddler.)
She's getting really good at her daddy's iPhone, too. She's known how to "unlock" it since she was 9 months old. Last month she managed to change the date on my iPod to January 1974, and somehow deleted a couple of my apps. So now both the iPod and the iPhone are password protected in order to unlock them. But I get the feeling it won't take her much longer to figure out that 1-3-7-9 is all it takes to access the amazing world of touch-screen fun.

She loves going outside. She loves putting on her hat and scarf and coat and shoes, and waiting by the door. She would live outside if she could, I think.

We took a few pictures of her all dressed up and playing with a balloon. She thought it was pretty great being the center of attention.