Thursday, November 29, 2007

Laurie rocks.

Laurie gave me my Christmas present early this year...a new do!
Jamie is our new stylist that we were introduced to via Kim (as in baby Sophie's mom) and we love her! I even made a future appointment with her for February before baby is born.
I call it...Jenny McCarthy Pumpkin Spice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sophie Grace...

So, Laurie and I went to see Sophie Grace again. I know. Shut up. the effect?
Cuddling up to mama.

I can't get enough of her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Welcome to the World Little Sophie Girl!

Doug and Kim Rickard

Kim and her mommy

Kim and her daddy

Me and Laurie

After little Sophie!

Emery (one month old) and her mommy Christi (who is Kim's sister),
Sophie and proud Grandma!

Kim, watching the birth video Doug shot, which
brought all of us to tears while in the waiting room.

November 26, 2007
10:12 pm
7 lbs.
21.5 " long

Sophie Grace is born!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Skydive Pics...

My dear friend Beth Fadel set up something amazing for her husband, Tim at Skydive, Oregon in Molalla. On October 27th, he, Beth and his brother, Todd, and a couple of his friends decided to skydive. It's something that Tim has always wanted to do, and now that his life is in "fast forward" mode, Beth arranged for it to happen. I was lucky enough to be invited, and Chris, Flannery and I went out to watch and photograph the event, along with many other friends and family members.

Todd and his dad, Gene.

I expected to be teary and moved, but instead, I was joyful, giddy and really excited for them to do something like this.'s some of my favorite photos from that day. Enjoy!

Todd and Tim Fadel...prior to the jump.

L-R: Todd, Tim and Abe Burns...and two other guys I don't know. Dangit.

This is the plane they are jumping from, any moment now. Ignore the water marks on the lens. Sorry.
Janie (Tim and Todd's mom) and Angie think they see something.

Abe landing. I mistook him for Tim and shot a lot of him.
Oh well. I should just say..."This is Tim!"
Todd and Tim, still buzzing on adrenaline.

Beth's turn!

Beth's least that's the story I'm sticking to.
(I'm like 90% sure that's Beth.)

Beth and Tim wanna go up there again!

Proof that I actually attended this function (other than my photos).
Flannery snaps a pic of me, Chris and Angie Fadel (of Todd and Angie) hanging out and watching it all happen.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good Grief!

I was just watching was today's episode, but I DVR'd it to avoid commercials...and I may have been inspired.

The creator of SPANX was on there, sharing about her new line, and Oprah was a huge inspiration for her and gave her the seed to create her dream a couple years ago. The woman invested a mere $5,000 into the business and now the company has made over $100,000,000 - Just because she chose to go for it.

My dream job...well, besides being Mikee's assistant again which is impossible at the to help those who are grieving a loss of a loved one through journaling and scrapbooking. I have a blurred vision right now of embellishments and papers and albums dedicated to death and dying. Not something gruesome with headstones and ickiness...but calming, lovely things that reflect the person who has died or is dying.

I've done a handful of "story boards" for funerals, the most recent for a woman that Laurie knows, who's father-in-law died. I love to put these large memorials together. Most funeral homes have easels for just these types of things, to display for those attending the funeral or memorial. This woman requested that the focus was on this man's love for the beach. She gave me a stack of pictures and marked those that I 'had' to use for sure. I rummaged through my stash of beach stuff and created a board for the memorial that the woman loved.

It's something I love to do. It takes a burden off the grieving. It's hard to go through mounds of pictures and sort them just right and make something decorative while your nose and eyes are dripping all over the board. Trust me. I did 2 boards for my grandfather's funeral and also 2 for my uncle's.

Making memory boards alone, by introducing my services to a local funeral chapel, could be a starter...charging $25 a board wouldn't be too much to ask. I'd buy all the materials and need a theme from the family and a stack of at least 10 pictures. It might be a great way to introduce my "Good Grief" line of products, and save up money to get "Good Grief" off the ground.

I recently had a friend, who so believes in the Good Grief dream, want to give me the money to start this business. I'm just not sure how I want to start. First of all, I'm 6 months pregnant. I imagine I won't be feeling super-motivated until little 'what's his name' is about 2 months old.
I have an idea, and a calling, but I'm not sure what the finished product will be.

I want to do workshops and seminars on grieving through scrapbooking. I want to have a line of products and embellishments to inspire those who want to attempt to work though their grief. I want to hear the stories and give hope to those who lost or are losing a loved one.

I guess I need to make a list and sketch some stuff out. Thank you Oprah. Say a prayer for Good Grief.

Thanksgiving Complete!

Twas the night before Thanksgiving...I baked 4 pies - peeled, cubed and soaked the potatoes - and whipped up the salad. This was genius. I'm sure every woman in America does things the night before, but I felt really proud. I got a jump start on the chaos.

Dinner was good, though I don't want to do it again when I'm this pregnant. I did it all myself, and it was hard when I'm trying not to be dizzy and have to eat to keep my strength up but with no burners are available to make eggs or something good for me and baby.

I roasted a 12 lb. turkey...injected it (thanks to Emeril's tip) with melted butter, chicken broth and sage, and then rubbed it with the same mixture and poured leftover chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan. I made Sweet Potato Pudding, a recipe that my friend Karen gave me a long time ago and Chris loves and isn't allergic to...4 pumpkin pies (two with homemade gluten free crust)...a VAT of mashed potatoes "grandma style" with half and half and butter...stuffing (I skimped and made Stove Top, since Chris hates stuffing, gluten free or not)...a pound of asparagus sprinkled with olive oil and a touch of salt and baked in the oven...and then I mixed up another grandma favorite, Marshmallow/Fruit Cocktail/Cool Whip salad. Once the turkey was out of the oven, I threw in the brown and serve rolls for 8 minutes and we ate!

I can see why my mom always wanted the double oven. This was a chore, trying to time everything so nothing was cold (though the potatoes were a tad tepid once served). I do have a small convection oven that is about 10 inches wide, but don't know the rules about convection, or how to time something just right, I guessed. The asparagus cooked in there, as did the sweet potato pudding, and it worked out fine. I might want to fine the owners' manual if I ever attempt this again.

We had Kelly and Josiah over with us, since it was Kelly's 30th birthday, and added candles to a pie. Joe and Flan got along better than usual, and Kelly bought each of them a velvet coloring thing to keep them busy and it worked!

BTW - I have never liked the turkey part of Thanksgiving - in fact, other than mashed potatoes, it's my least favorite meal of the year. I usually just find some dark meat on the bird and have a few bites, because dark meat is all I can chew usually. Let me tell you. Injecting the bird made the white meat melt in your mouth. I have never eaten so much turkey on thanksgiving. It was so good. My sister said the same thing. Chris said that usually he just eats every bite of the turkey with cranberry sauce so he can choke it down, and this was the best he'd ever had too. Seriously. Leave it to Emeril.

Oh yeah - I also pulled the turkey out from the oven when the thermometer read 155 degrees - A tip I got from some chef that was on Rachael Ray last continues to cook on the counter while it sits for 20 minutes or so before carving. I don't know. I'm just glad I watched for tips since I had never done anything like this before!

Sorry to ramble, but I'm so darn proud of myself! ;)

OH! And the best part...Cowboys smashed the Jets into their own turf 34 - 3. Yippee!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

So, for the first time ever, I'm making Thanksgiving Dinner. Chris is recently gluten free, and going somewhere else with family, just means he can't eat, because he doesn't know what ingredients are being added to the food.

So, I've researched the cooking of a turkey and got a great rub recipe from Emeril, I'm using a fantastic recipe for Sweet Potato Pudding from my old BFF Karen and I found a gluten free pie crust recipe that I tested on Chris last week and he likes it, so he gets to have pumpkin pie. I'm also making two regular crust pies so the rest of us will be able to choke it down. Seriously. Terrible tasting pie crust for the gluten-allergic. I pity him.

I'm making way too many mashed potatoes, using my grandmother's recipe (that I swear I only eat once a year) with half and half and a stick of butter, salt and pepper. This is because I have invited my sister and her son to join us, and it's a tradition thing. And it's amazingly wonderful! I'm also mixing up my grandma's marshmallow salad...ha! Salad she calls it! Cool whip, fruit cocktail and mini marshmallows. Oh man. It's a classic.

I'm also taking the high road and adding a side of asparagus to the mix. I love asparagus, as does my sister, and the canned green bean casserole that I'm subjected to every year makes me want to gag. I've gotten fresh, beautiful asparagus spears that I will roast with a touch of olive oil and salt and they will be spectacular!

I've been chilling a bottle of tonic water and some fresh limes so I can feel festive even though very pregnant, and I didn't forget the egg nog either, which is one of Chris' staples at Thanksgiving. Our family never had it at Thanksgiving, but waitied until Christmas to serve it spiked. This will be a new tradition!

Well, I'm off to bake all 4 pies and mix up the salad and peel some potatoes. I need to get a head start to avoid early morning irritation. I'm just not a morning person. Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh...don't forget to tell someone something you're thankful for this year. We used to do that with my great grandma. Go around the table and let everyone share. This is especially neat for those who don't incorporate prayer into their Thanksgiving meal. And it makes everyone feel good.

Great Grandma Clara used to always get tears in her eyes as we shared.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Traditions and Anal Retentive Decorating

Yesterday, after getting Flannery off to school and then puttering on the computer for awhile doing nothing really that meaningful, I lit my Christmas candles and spruced up our already Christmas-decorated house. This meant setting everything just so...not how Flannery may have set it up...(i.e. Mary and a wise man were enjoying the birth of Jesus in a manger and Joseph was off near a cow)...and I removed a couple of ornaments lovingly made just a few days ago by my daughter with her new pack of pipe cleaners I bought her, and suggested later that she put them on her tree in her bedroom because they are so colorful and pretty.

The nice thing about Flannery is that she knows, thanks to daddy's explanation, that "Mommy is weird about the decorations in the Living Room." Chris understands this, because his mom is the same way, and even more anal than I...spacing everything apart equally on the tree and the shelves...which gives Chris and I something to do to torment, well, lovingly torment her.

Whenever we visit, just moments before she sees us out, we turn ornaments backward, magnets on the fridge upside down, shift the snowman cookie jar head to face the wall, etc... She always calls Chris that same evening, "I saw what you did," she'll say, and blame the whole act on him, because she knows that she and I share in the love of a perfectly symmetrical Christmas.

Chris' mom moved to Virginia last year, and 2 years ago, my mom moved to Coulee City (a five hour drive from Portland), and so we don't get the traditional stuff that we'd grown to love throughout the Christmas season. The thing I miss the most is the stocking from my mom.

She always gave each of us a stocking, (Me, Kelly, Jon, Tommy, Teri and Alice) and the stocking would take longer to open than the actual gift opening time, because she shopped all year for little items that we would love or find fun to have. She individually wrapped each item and stuffed it in the stocking until it was full, and then we would each have a little stuffed animal or item in the very top. When Chris and I were first married, his stocking had a stuffed snowman peeking out the top (since he's a weather man)...Teri's had a Pony one time (she loves horses, etc.) I hate missing Christmas morning with my mom.

As an adult, I suppose I should be over the little childish romantic memories and suck it up, and create new traditions for my family, but sometimes I just want my mommy at Christmastime.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Heart Attack-ack-ack-ack...

I got home this morning at 2:30am from a trip to Coulee City to visit my mom. On Tuesday morning, Kelly and I were having coffee when my stepbrother called to tell us that his dad, my mom's husband, Tom, had a heart attack, and they were currently in an ambulance on their way to a hospital in Moses Lake. We phoned my mom, who was riding along with him, to check on things and her voice cracked and she began to sob. He was stable, but my mom sure wasn't, and that wasn't like her at all. She asked us to pray and that she'd keep in touch. Kelly looked at me and at the same time, we said, "let's go."

Tom, September 2007

Chris arranged with his boss to work from the time Flannery went to school to the time she got out of school for the whole week, we also arranged with Melissa to watch Flannery if Chris needed anything. We drove to Chris' work, grabbed the debit card and headed out of town, calling our siblings on the way to let them know Tom's condition.

On our way, they had decided to life flight Tom to Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, which specializes in heart-related disease, so we stayed on I-84 a little longer and shot up to Spokane. It was a 5 1/2 hour drive with some tears and some laughter and stops to fill the gas tank (YIKES) and grab snacks along the way. It was good to be alone with my sister and just talk and be girls and cry a little too.

We arrived at 6 pm, met mom and her pastor, Pastor Allen, outside Tom's door, and then heard Tom, teasing the nurses, joking with the staff, etc...he sounded great...thanks to the nitro drip. We went in and I offered to let their pastor read him last rites and Tom laughed, as did his pastor, and really, thanks to the 5 different bags of blood thinners, etc, Tom looked fantastic.

Mom hugged us and cried. She was like I had never seen her. A weak, sad woman. It scared me a little, but I kept it together. Kelly, Pastor Allen and I went to the waiting room where we indulged on Cheetos and made jokes and kept it light, and he asked that we convince mom to get some dinner and go to a motel in town, rather than drive 90 minutes back to Coulee City and then back again in the morning. (My mom is frugal beyond belief, so this would be a tough task.) Pastor Allen went home.

After a few more hours and tests, Tom was stable and relaxed and the doctor assured us that his procedure in the morning would tell us exactly what was going on. His cardiac enzymes were highly elevated, though the CT didn't show any tearing or emergent situation.

We went to the cafe in the hospital and had sandwiches and iced tea and then found a Quality Inn down the street where we all three checked in, got some coffee and watched a little TV, while we talked and laughed and cried like 3 best friends, raided the vending machine and then finally fell asleep around 2 am.

L-R: Kelly, Me, our brother, Jonathan, and my mom, Linda 2005

The next morning, we had a yummy breakfast provided by the hotel and went to the hospital and watched as Tom went in for the "procedure." The cath up the artery in the groin area and into his heart. After 2 hours, the doctor came in with before and after pics of the damage. He has one artery 100% blocked to where the rest of the artery was deflated like a balloon. They put in a 4mm stent to open it up and they flushed out a lot of the blockage. He has another artery that is 30% blocked and they left that alone to flush on its' own, while he starts on about 4 new meds.

That evening, mom, Kelly and I went out to dinner at Perkin's Restaurant, and had a huge meal and then went back to the hospital to be with Tom until around 8pm and then back to the hotel for more vending machine fun, coffee and TV. Mom fell asleep fast that night, and Kelly and I were so glad. She was exhausted and emotionally drained beyond anything I have ever seen in her.

The next morning, after another yummy breakfast (can you tell I'm with child and can't avoid telling you about the food?) we went back to the hospital, where Kelly and I got a deck of cards and played Rummy for 3 hours while the doctors observed Tom exerting himself. He was able to be discharged at 5pm that evening.

We drove mom and Tom back to Coulee City, ate a couple sandwiches, gave out sister Alice (age 13) a hug - she had been staying at the Pastor's house while this whole thing was happening, as she refused to visit the hospital because it freaked her out - and we hit the road at 9 pm.

Flannery and her Auntie Alice March 2007

I had zero internet access there, or I would have bloged or written sooner. Anyway, I'm going to sleep for a few hours...I got up to see Flannery off to school. I missed her and Chris so much.

It's so good to be home.