Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Miss Paula brought over her twins so I could get a baby fix. They're so big - Maggie can roll over and Regan isn't too far behind.

Grace loved them at first. Real babies. But then when she realized I was snuggling Maggie a bit too long... she was over them. So she and Ava went upstairs to play.

More baby time for me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ashling & Isabel's 1st Communion

We were blessed to be included in the First Communion festivities for two of Hayden's friends, Ashling & Isabel. I wanted him to have the whole experience, so we joined their families for the church service. Hayden has never sat through Mass before. In fact, the last time he was in a Catholic church he had to be carried out by Aunt Courtney.

He's learned a lot about sitting still in the last five years. Good thing, since he wound up sitting next to Granda, who'd flown in from Ireland for the big day.

It was a long ceremony, a full Mass plus the kids in their white clothes. They all looked adorable. But I do wonder what kind of bar this sets for their weddings...

After the service, Miss Tina & I ran the boys through the McDonald's drive-thru as a reward for keeping still. Then we collected the rest of our family for the party at the golf course. (Again, I want to go to the weddings these girls have.)

We had a huge room in the club house, a DJ and dance floor, plus a large covered deck and bar. The Oregon sunshine was hit and miss that day, but we managed to get in lots of photos in the dry spells and it was warm enough for tables outside.

The kids were all about dancing. The DJ let them make all the requests they wanted, and they danced in every style, to every song. Miss Tina led everyone through a Zumba song or two.
Even Hayden danced...with his Miss Helen. He wasn't about to dance with me, or even let me catch him with the camera.

 And then the boys decided to turn the party into their first stand-up comedy show. Thank goodness most of the guests have the same sense of humor that they do!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


With Uncle Gabe & Maureen in town, we wanted to do something special. We want them to like P-town, and we wanted to have a good time! Really, none of us get out enough. We found BrewCycle on Facebook and thought it was the ultimate Portland way to experience the breweries. Bikes, brews and quirkiness are what we are known for.

The BrewCycle is a bicycle built for 15. Twelve people sit around a picnic table-like contraption and ten pedal, with room on the bench for three or so more. We had Randy sit inside on the cooler, you know, to keep it safe.

Once we had our seats, I worried it would be like spin class, but since so many of us were peddaling, it was easy. We went a few blocks to our first stop, Lucky Lab. They had a great cider and everyone got into the atmosphere. Or maybe we got a buzz on from the vodka soaked gummi bears (slimy!) or jello shots.

Getting on and off the BrewCycle was the hardest part for me. Once we were aboard we steered over to Caps & Corks. They have an amazing selection of hard-to-find beers including blueberry cider and cherry lambic. Yes, they have guy beer too.

The weather was gorgeous, so we soaked up the sunshine a bit before gliding over to Bridgeport. They use a cowbell to warn motorists that this rolling picnic table is on its way, and by this point Jeff had appointed himself the chief cowbell shaker. I should have taken a video. Bridgeport had Strawberry Tart, so I was happy. They don't always have it, and while I like Summer Squeeze, there is just something about Strawberry Tart. Yum.

After the BrewCycle brougth us back to the beginning, we went back to Lucky Lab for a snack. And more cider. It was good!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gracie Turns 4!

It is so hard to believe Grace is four years old. So strange how our babies grow into people, and yet remain tiny creatures in our hearts. Grace's morning started off with gifts from Mom & Dad -- including a Skuut. Basically, a wooden bike without pedals to help her get used to steering and balancing. A couple of preschool friends have them and she's always been fascinated.

She then got ready for preschool - complete with her favorite party dress. Big brothers had the day off, but Grace got to bring cookies and milk for snack time with her friends.

And then...Miss Kris had a great idea to enjoy the change in weather and have a picnic at the park next to the school. Grace LOVES picnics, but this was the first day it was warm enough to try.

She loved her birthday picnic! Since the big kids were off school, it was extra-special to have them there. We've been doing these picnic play dates since we mama's were prego, so it's so touching to see how the kids have grown together in a little unit.

It was also a little bittersweet...I think Bayley is getting too tall to play at the park!

We even got a little show... one of the houses next to the park was having a tree removed. The kids loved watching!!

Then it was home for a Tangled movie nap...only Grace decided that she and I needed to have a sleepover in my bed instead. I was fine with that...but a few minutes in she says "I don't like this bed." I asked if she was the princess and the pea...but she marched into her room and closed the door...and napped for two hours! I love this girl!

For dinner she had a special treat -- Red Robin with Natalie! She made sure they sat next to each other, and when Natalie put on a bib, she had to have one too.
She even shared her birthday ice cream...okay, one bite. But it was a step in the right direction.
After dinner, we came home to find Grammo and Pop Pop had arrived! Which was time for cake. They brought a chocolate, and Hayden made her a rainbow cake. Everyone who sees his six-layer monstrocity is impressed, which fills his little heart. Since we had so much cake, I called in the neighborhood boys for help. Grace was THRILLED that they came in to sing Happy Birthday to her. The perfect end to her perfect day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Colonial Dancing

The boys' school has a great music curriculum. This year the 5th grade studied The Beatles and colonial dancing and somehow tied it together. The parents were invited to see a performance of the colonial dances. I didn't want to miss it, but I had to bring Grace. I should have known.

The first dance went okay...she stayed with me and twirled on the sidelines. But she was so excited when everyone clapped....she ran out onto the gym floor! I had to chase her down in front of everyone! Oh my, talk about embarassing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day Tea

Grace's preschool hosted a Mother's Day tea...and I almost didn't make it!

Bayley had given me the scare of a lifetime by having delibitating chest pain. Thank goodness for our friends and neighbors who stepped in to take care of Grace and deliver her to school while I sorted things out with Bayley at the doctor's. It turned out to be a muscle spasm, which felt like an answered prayer. I'll take a little inconvenience over all the other scenarios that had been running through my mind!

I made it to the school just a few minutes into the tea party. Grace made a cute card  for me, but I think she was much more interested in the snack - sweet tea, cake, strawberries and Cool Whip. After a sip of tea, she opted for water, but she also decided she needed to have my cake as well as her own. Good think I've been avoiding grains!

We wanted a picture of all the baby girlfriends all grown up...but Grae was not in the mood. This was the only shot where she was remotely close to the other girls.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Gracie's 4th Birthday Party

I was under it with a book deadline, so the rainbow party I had planned on Pinterest was too ambitious. Instead, I opted to throw a party I've done three times before! We rented the preschool for a morning of playing, cake & presents. I even impressed myself by how quickly we were able to set up, party, and clean up!

Grace loved getting to play with her preschool buddies and other special friends...all girls! Hayden was thrilled that a few other big brothers showed up. I think he was a bit worried he'd be the only boy. It was great fun to see the girls playing hard in their party dresses.

The adults seem to have a good time watching the kiddos...or throwing them about. Sometimes I think Jeff had kids so he could act goofy and people wouldn't think he was off.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Salem Field Trip

I've lived in Oregon for most of my life, and yet I've never been to the capitol. This is especially ridiculous because I spent a year working in Salem. Just never went. So when I heard the 5th grade had a capitol tour scheduled...I begged my way into being a chaperone.

I'm so glad I did! The kids were so well behaved, we almost didn't want to say anything. They were all mature and polite. They've come a long way.

Our tour guide was great, explaining to the kids about the governors office (it's basically for photo ops, not unlike our class pic), the state senate & the state house of representatives.
The kids also got a lesson in phone booths. They'd never seen them, and couldn't fathom why you would want to go into a closet to talk on the phone.

Then it was time to climb atop the capitol to see the Golden Pioneer. The scaffolding and spiral staircases reminded me of climbing to the top of a lighthouse. The view was fantastic. Plus we learned the big gold dude comes from the same place as The Situation - New Jersey!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Tea Party

Our local rec center had a tea party class, and since the girls are all about tea parties right now we signed them up. It worked out great -- we were the only ones who signed up! It was a party for our group that we didn't have to plan, or clean up. Score!

There was coloring, cupcake decorating, cookie frosting, edible tea cups, making tea sandwiches...

OK, so maybe this class wasn't as age appropriate as it should have been. Grace is happy to eat all those things. But make her own sandwich? Must work on that.

After we got the girls their goodies, we stepped out for an hour of mom time. Then it was back to collect the kiddos, now hopped up on sugar. Hmmm....maybe this wasn't such a sharp plan...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Downtown Portland Field Trip

Hayden's 3rd grade class has been studying how cities work, so the kids got to head into downtown Portland to see things up close. They mainly learned about the history of Portland, but I think they were thrilled by things like statues and the Benson Bubblers.

Downtown businesses are very accomodating for the kiddos. They were taken two different places to look at the window, got to go into the vault at US Bank, walk through the tunnel the President uses to get to his motorcade when he is in town, and saw the first indoor swimming pool in the Pacific Northwest (@ The Benson).
I was so proud of how well-behaved the kids were. I'll admit, knowing I had to keep track of nine kids in downtown was a but daunting. But they really seemed to understand that they had to pay attention and stay with me.

I wish they weren't so enamoured by the Benson Bubblers. The continual drinking fountains seem so dirty to me. Sure, they look clean, but where is all that water coming from? And does anyone else see the irony in them? Benson installed them so workers wouldn't drink beer and wind up asleep by the afternoon. Now, Portland has the most breweries per capita.

We had lunch at Pioneer Courthouse Square, and again the kids impressed me with their behavior. They all stayed together, even in the middle of the city. Hayden was still hungry after he ate his lunch, and was quite disappointed that I'd only packed fruit and cheese. So, he got to make his first food-cart purchase...a hot dog!

Friday, May 04, 2012

20 questions by Gracious Mae before she turns 4

1. What is your favorite color? purple
2. What is your favorite toy?
A robot named Plex
3. What is your favorite fruit? Orange and apples
4. What is your favorite tv show? Go Diego Go
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? pizza
6. What is your favorite outfit?
A party dress
7. What is your favorite game?
8. What is your favorite snack?
Animal crackers and chocolate covered raisins
9. What is your favorite animal?
Sea lion
10. What is your favorite song?
A lullabye
11. What is your favorite book?
12. Who is your best friend?
Samantha and Mya and Taylor and Ava
13. What is your favorite cereal?
Honey nut cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Blow bubbles
15. What is your favorite drink?
Milk and water
16. What is your favorite holiday?
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Honey Nut Cheerios
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
Birthday cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lots of things

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Muffins With Mom

I was so excited to see the boys school hosting a Muffins With Mom event. The boys we even more excited since I wasn't eating grains, they got to split my muffin half...and then again when we got to go back for seconds. Good to know I'm good for a muffin!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Easter at Grandma's House

Every visit to Jeff's folks house requires a trip to see the horses for Grace. She tells everyone she has three horses, but I'm pretty sure the animals would disagree.

The boys waited not-so-patiently for Grace to see her horses before beginning the egg hunt. They look forward to these eggs every year because Grandma puts money in them.

They raced into the house to open the eggs and count up their loot. Bayley is saving for an iPad (me too, buddy) and Hayden was thrilled that he got enough to buy some new Beyblades.