Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Zöe Dott!!!

Our sweet little monkey-girl turns two today! It's hard to believe, and seems like both a long and and short amount of time simultaneously depending on my angle of thought.

It's been a long two years with a feisty, strong-willed, independent girl who is crafty (as in the wiley sense) and gets into everything. In a house much bigger than our last one, and with two older children to care for as well, there appears to be plenty of little minutes for Zöe to find troble. She pushes chairs and step stools, piles pillow and books, to get to anything she wants anywhere in the house. Nothing is out of her reach. Yesterday I had to call Poison Control (just writing that makes me shudder) because I thought she has ingested half a bottle of Triaminic Cough and Cold. In the reinactment she showed me that she poured in down the toilet, but that delicious grape flavor was on her breath so I just couldn't be sure. Turns out she was fine and I'm now convinced that the toilet was, in fact, where it was dumped. A lesson learned. Last week she poured an entire cup of water on the cat becuase she wanted to give her a bath. In the middle of the night she stretched and reached the light switch from her crib and turned on the bright, bright overhead ceiling light, never making a peep. Apparently this light was lovely to her because she then fell asleep with it blaring from above. While coloring, she became an expert in the skill of Body Art. In mere minutes arms, legs, feet, hands were covered in marker (at least it wasn't Sharpie) bold and brilliant. The boys were never like this. At all. In fact, if you can believe this, they learned to push the chair around in order to get what they want in the kitchen from her. When things are quiet is when the imp is on the loose.

And it's been a short, short two years with my baby girl. She mezmerizes me with her excitement, passion, zest for life. She's sassy, in a good way, spirited. She holds my face in her chubby baby-hands and says, so giddy she can barely contain herself, "Look mama, come see the meow!" She runs down the street (away from me as fast as she can...) with her head thrown back, hair blowing in the wind, laughing hard. She splases in puddles until they no longer contain water. She cleans, organizes things, uses her little broom to help me in the kitchen, pretends to feed everyone and brush their hair (the boys love that one). She charms people everywhere we go with her happy smile and bouncing blond curly hair. She charms us all.

In all ways, now that I think of it, these years have flown by. The Imp and the Charmer move together in a delicate dance to make Zöe our girl. She wouldn't be Zöe any other way. Happy Birthday little Dott, we love you!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


After what feels like months (wait, it was months...) of working on our house, the exterior is finally complete! You can see the "before" photo here. The roof was finished in November and the painters just finished on Monday. It feels so good to have the old place spruced up. Reminds me of the scene from Wizard of Oz where everyone gets new polish, stuffing and a pretty red bow.

The Weather-Gods smiled on us with several nice days in a row for the painters to get things wrapped up. They must have sensed my impending mental break down, because they really cranked it out. Two weeks of having all of the windows in the house covered with paper and painted over is enough to drive anyone to the funny farm. As my friend Liesl put it, " You begin to feel like one of those scary cases from CSI..."

And then there was the issue of the wrong body color which covered about two-thirds of the house for a few days. That was the stressful incident that I referred to in my last post. What you now see as a nice leafy-green, was instead a pukey yellow-ochre-gold. I was so worried that somehow I had given them the wrong color, but in fact the paint store messed up the mixing. And good old Sherwin-Williams made it all better. It really is amazing, though. The two colors didn't look that different side by side on the wall, but when magnified the difference on the house was phenomenal.

So now it's done! And I am very happy. After many, many years of brown-on-brown this good old house has earned it's time to "pop" with vibrant color and life. I know that my grandmother (masterful color-lover that she was) is looking in on us and loving this new incarnation.

You can see more photos here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Photobooth Friday #7: Girlfriends

Zöe and I made a trip to the mall today (Lloyd Center) to buy birthday goodies for my dad who turns 60 tomorrow!!! My parents have gotten us all (our family of five, my parents, and Cabel and Nicole) rooms at the new Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria for tomorrow night. The hotel looks beautiful and the kids are completely wound up with excitement, so it should be fun! At any rate, a stop by the photobooth was necessary today. It's been a hectic, stressful week (I'll give you details next week...) and some photobooth fun was just the trick to celebrate a beautiful, sunny Springtime Friday. Have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Jenny Love

Several weeks ago I was reading Angry Chicken, when I stumbled upon this post of Amy's. The rush of memories that struck me when I saw her Mandy photos nearly knocked me off my chair. I hadn't thought about my Jenny doll for years, and the instant aching I had for her was almost painful. As a kid I wasn't really into dolls. I was strongly discouraged from acquiring Barbies (and truth be told that was okay with me), and baby dolls didn't hold my interest at all. But when Fisher Price came out with their "My Friend" line in 1979 it was a perfect fit. In my mind the girls were just like me, and it was so much fun to dress them in their cute, cute outfits. I don't know too much about the American Girl Dolls, but I think they appeal to much the same sensibility. Not babies, not Barbies, just regular girls.

Jenny was given to me for Christmas, I think I was 10. I wanted her for what felt like forever and was completely wound up with the possibility of actually getting her. I remember my mom asking me if I was sure I wanted Jenny, not Mandy, as my curly blond hair and green eyes were more Mandy-ish. But Jenny was the one for me. I loved the way she looked with her straight dark hair and big brown eyes. We came to my grandparents' house for Christmas Eve, as was the tradition every year, for dinner and exchanging gifts from family. My grandmother always lined up our presents (for me, my brother, and our cousins Jubal and Tristan) on the built in knotty pine bench in the basement party room. I remember racing downstairs and inspecting my packages for one that might be Jenny. It was torture to wait through the entire evening to finally open our gifts, but my patience was duly rewarded. I was over-the-moon when I opened my Jenny with extra outfits to boot! I remember spending a long time dressing her, switching the pieces around, and showing my grandmother all the combinations. I've loved her ever since.

So when I saw Amy's post I immediately called my mom to ask where she might be. My parents have been dutifully cleaning things out of the basement lately and driving them out to Catlin, where I attended Kindergarten through High School, to donate to the Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale (Go Blue Team!). I was certain she was gone. And when my mom's knowledge of her whereabouts was uncertain, it was like the kiss of death. I didn't ask again. I didn't want my parents to feel bad. They are so great about saving the important things. But, lo and behold, she was found! Not a shoe missing; tights, hats, dresses, shirts, every piece just as it should be. I almost cried, and left Eric to fend for himself with a house full of kids (ours and others) while I ran Operation Bring Jenny Home. The extraction and ensuing rescue were a resounding success! Many thanks to Amy for making it all happen in the first place.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Serious Addiction...

to Queen Bee Creations. Someone who will remain unnamed asked, "How many handbags does a girl need?" The answer: many, many of these beautiful bags would be fine, please! Which is why, when I found myself with some girlfriends at the very crazy Queen Bee "seconds and one-of-a-kinds sale" on Sunday, I walked away with two excellent, ever-so-slightly imperfect bags for the price of one! Hip Hip Hooray! Rebecca Pearcy of Queen Bee has something really fantastic going on here. Each of her new designs gets better and better. And now, a line of baby gear! How many handbags can a girl buy?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Photobooth Friday #6: Us

Oh, how I love this man. It's pretty hard to believe that it was fourteen years ago that we took these photos. So much life we've lived since then!

It was my Senior year at Scripps College, in Claremont, California. I'd just returned from my study-abroad in York, England and getting back to London was just about all that was on my mind. I was serving coffee in The Motley (our campus fueling spot) when he ambled in. We chatted over the counter about music, The Gypsy Kings, and I was smitten. I remember stocking the coolers with soda and lemonade, all the while watching the reflection in the glass of him, sitting outside laughing with his friends. They were Grad Students. I loved his face, his glasses, such a smile, an easygoing manner, his laugh. We met again at an art party where he made me laugh and laugh. And when the evening was ending and it was Southern California cold, he offered me his shirt to keep me warm. I had to laugh again, and happily accept his asking permission for a kiss with such sweet Midwestern manners. We've been together ever since. I knew then that I wanted to marry him. I knew then that he'd be a fantastic dad. And he surpasses my expectations as a husband and a father with each and every day. I've loved him from that very first moment.

This photo was taken in the Photobooth on Balboa Island. It was the only place outside of Claremont that I knew how to get to, and even then I recall getting very, very lost. The 10 freeway, to the 210, freeway , to the 5 freeway? We got a lot better about getting around in the 10 years we spent in Los Angeles after we were finished with school. But nonetheless I think this may have been our first outside-of-Claremont date. Dinner at BJ's Pizza, a walk on the pier, photos in the booth, video games, and a ride on the Ferris Wheel. I was giddy with happiness, excited for our future, both arms around his waist as we tried to walk along. And I still am. Although now my arms have so many sweet little hands to hold, and I have to smile remembering our awkward hugging hobble of being just two. Only in my most glittery imagination could I envison all that our love would create, shining in that one brief flash-bulb moment when we stepped into the booth for our photo.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Pure Zöe

This is Zöe. Absolutely. Completely. In her element. Loving life. She's a game of chase with screams which have no end. She's a ride down the hill going way too fast. Careening out-of-control yet laughing from her belly all the while. Pure. Fun. Crazy. Love.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Photobooth Friday #5: Voyage into the Future.

Max, Zöe and I went on a wild goose chase yesterday looking for a photobooth. We tried to follow this lead, but ran into a dead end. There the photobooth sat, alone and broken, in an "employees only" section of the store. So sad. It would have been sweet if it had worked out, as it's super close to our house. But no such luck. An employee told me that it's been broken for months, the repair company is in Texas, and it doesn't matter anyway because due to the chemicals in the film development process these types of old school photobooths are illegal in Oregon. What? Is that true? I must investigate...

So we headed to the mall to try one of the new digital booths. I'm still not sure how I feel about the new ones. I tend to be very resistant to change and everything about it was just so different. Rather than spinning the cool blue stool to get the perfect height for the frame, there are buttons for adjusting the view of the camera and the bench is fixed. There is a monitor where you can see yourselves, but the lens is below that. Max was able to understand that he needed to look into the lens instead of at the monitor, but Zöe was too little to grasp that concept. She had a blast looking and laughing at the three of us on TV. That's okay, though. I was impressed that she actually sat there and made the appropriate silly faces at the appropriate times!

So with more practice (Jack was very unhappy that he missed out) and fine-tuning I think that this new one will work out fine, especially if it's my only choice. Yet, I can't help but feel nostalgic for the good old photobooth days. Something about the crazy noises that went on inside the machine while it was developing always made my imagination race. I would secretly imagine an army of little dwarves in there, feverishly etching our images onto the paper in a flurry of dwarfish activity. At least that was always worth a giggle.

More photobooth giggles here.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


We met Cabel for lunch today at the new Marine Polis/Sushiland in NW Portland near his office. And since Eric hasn't seen the kids for the last couple of evenings, he came too! Super yummy and fun. What could be better than sushi and sashimi inching it's way past your table on a clever winding conveyor belt? Max is fascinated by the whole concept and was a giggling heap of silliness when Cabel put Max's Playmobil skeleton on the conveyor belt for a long cicrcuitious ride. It made it's way past some chuckling diners, through the kitchen, and was momentarily kidnapped by two bandana-wearing sushi-eating bikers before riding along once again back into Max's eager hands. I really thought that Max might pee his pants from the laughing and the anticipation of the whole ordeal. Too funny.