Thursday, December 30, 2010

A trip to the children's museum

We had a great day at the Everett Children's Museum. We went with our friends Karen and JB and their 2 kids and it was a blast!!! And while the museum has lots of areas, Morgan keep our crew in the watering whole. Both girls tried alot of new things and managed the crowds well. Addy took to the performance area, the construction area (although she did more destruction), and the slides. Morgan just keep coming back to the water area. If/when the girls get sick from all the strange things they put it there mouth, it was well worth it. Here are some highlights. 

video

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Time

Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday for my family. But in the last few years we have traded the hassle and cost of holiday travel for a trip to the east coast in June when we can enjoy warm weather and the beach. So as we geared up for a low key thanksgiving when my Aunt Donna got an idea? Why not go to Rae and Justin's for a quiet relaxing thanksgiving? We welcomed the company and before we knew it we were making plans for 17--if we could not go to thanksgiving, the Astions were coming to us. Thrilled to host this important event, my Grandfather starting to plan. By mid- October he had a four page excel sheet of dishes, grocery lists, preparation dates, menu items, and discussions of serving dishes. Having had many thanksgivings of bread and potatoes I managed to squeeze in a pasta dish, a salad, and some vegetarian stuffing--the rest remained the same. I am not sure how long the menu has been the same but I know it is at least 34 years (with exception of the jello mold substitute).

To ensure there was enough preparation time my Grandparents gave themselves a week in Washington before thanksgiving With the sacred thanksgiving polyester, brown and orange table cloth in tow, my Grandparents left sunny Florida for the Pacific Northwest. 

Nan and Pop arrived in Washington and the weather instantly changed. Our forty degree rain turned to frozen tundra conditions with several snow storms, roads of ice, and temperatures in the single digits. To make a long crazy story short, my cousin Jamie got sick (so Mike F and Shana spend thanksgiving in Portland), my girls got a case of hand, foot and mouth (a bumpy contagious condition that forced my Uncle Mike and Aunt Jen to cancel-- the snow would have deterred them if they had not). Aunt Donna made the monster trip with Gena and Ella in tow and my Mom would not have missed it for the world.

After days of cooking, juggling the girls, dealing with a frozen washing machine, and transporting everyone in sub-teen conditions (the very temperatures my grandparents tried to avoid by moving to Florida), Thanksgiving morning arrived and so did a major snow storm. Since our roads do not get plowed (it never snows here) we trouble shooted how to get my grandparents to our house, or if we should pack the food and bring it to their hotel room. Finally, Justin deiced to pick them up in the Subaru. After sliding a 50 yards down our road the car stopped and I helped my frozen grandmother (earmuffs, thermal underwear, and all) into the house. Donna made it out with her girls, we provided the sleds, and thanksgiving was a go. All and all it was a great visit. It is so nice to have my family spend time with the girls. Since everyone has left, the temperatures have returned to the 40s, all the snow melted, rained resumed, and we have another great thanksgiving story. Thank you for everyone who made the long, cold, journey to our corner of the world.

Addy in her apron helping with the cooking

Morgan getting in a bath after cooking all day

Amy and Kate playing with the girls 

Addy's first experience with snow

Morgan is alittle hesitant 

The girls are really into books and they got everyone to read to them 

Great Nana reading 
 Great Papa reading 

Even Gena took a shift

Nana taking her reading shift 

If no one was reading to them, they read to each other - its really cute

And after alot of reading, Nana insisted we return to cooking, 
so she showed the girls how to make the famous Adele Astion sour cream coffee cake

The view from our door thanksgiving morning

Everyone dressed for the holiday, 
hoping the rest of the family would be able to make it out of their hotel rooms 
(Addy seemed worried she would have to eat all the cranberry meatballs)

Morgie and Mom (note the table cloth in the background)

Turkey carving lessons

 Me and my Nana

Addy thanking the chef
Post meal sledding


Addy was unsure at first but really got into it

Morgan was less impressed

Gena loved it 

A big thanks to Donna who volunteered to photograph the event 

Lavern is always up for play in the snow

The girls liked up hill just as much as down 

 So sweet

A Family Thanksgiving (minus a few important members)

Morgan seemed sad to see everyone leave

And Addy did some serious meditation.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Distance

When the second trimester of pregnancy hits people ask you if you are "nesting." And, until you start cleaning the house, throwing away horded crap, and searching craigslists for bouncing and swinging plastic you are not sure exactly what they mean. But  it was not until I spent a weekend away from the Bellingham did I realize that we have been nesting for well over a year.

While I knew I would miss my family, I felt totally confident that Justin had the situation until control, and in all honestly I was glad to have a weekend to care for myself. I left on Friday for the NCA conference in San Fransisco and came home today with a fresh perspective. I forgot that even though I go to bed at 9, there are people partying through the night every night of the week. I had forgotten that not everyone sits down for three meals and two snacks a day. I forgot how nice it is to feel the buzz of a city. I had forgotten how much I love to think about theoretical ideas and that the sun comes out in November. But most of all I had forgotten how much I missed my girls.

While I have a great community in Bellingham, I am constantly straddling the life of a working mom. Running home to see my babies after a long day and staying up late to respond to student emails. Yet there are few people who can say they truly love their life, and I can. My job is intellectually stimulating and my family loving and tender. But I have been lucky enough to have meet some really amazing women over the years. I have great friends from each chapter of my 33 years yet the closets lives farther than I could drive in a day. With exception of the southwest, I have close girlfriends living in every US region, the shortest distance between them is a eight hour drive. Some I talk to daily, others weekly or monthly, and some not at all. Yet this weekend, for a short time, I got to spend quality uninterrupted time with many of them. Together we ate great meals, talked about great ideas, did a little shopping, laughed ourselves to tears, and danced in ways I forgotten how much I missed. I tried to cherish each moment drawing on my yogic practice, pushing to be faithfully present ignoring both past and future. Yet when it was over, I could not hold back the tears (transition has never been my strength).

I was not sad to return, for I missed my family. Plus Morgan can now say socks and Addy has grown at least ten more red hair. But my heart hated they my girls did not know my family, that they did not live close, and that I had no idea when I would see them all again. It is so nice to know how well of these girls are doing. They are all loved, brilliant, and beautiful, but missed. A special thanks to Lindsay, Helen, Jen, Karen, Danielle and many others for a truly a great weekend.

PS: Staring Saturday the Astions start pouring into Bellingham, stay tuned for a family thanksgiving - my Grandfather has already packed the traditionally Thanksgiving tablecloth- there better be no luggage problems between Florida and Washington.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A diary is always a rendition of the past for the future

People always tell me “your time with your children flies by,” and it does. It has only been 13, almost 14 months and I have already forgotten so much. I almost forgot how Addy would do hundreds of sit-ups each day, or Morgan would curl up on her Daddy’s chest and sleep away. Their love of the swing, Addy’s soft singing in the car, Morgen’s fear of a diaper change, or the sleepless nights that have passed so quickly. How Vern would attempt to jump into the pack and play just to get glimpse and Scout would sit patiently close to each one of them offering comfort when they cried. 

 It is possible my obsession with photographs is my attempt to remember. The time in my life when I have taken the most pictures, family parties, summer camp, my travels with Justin and now, are the times I long never to forget. Yet I hope this blog can be for our family an extension of those pictures—an insight, ever so small, of what I was thinking. But now I as I juggle a loving family and a stimulating career I have too little time to write. So before I introduce new images let me take a moment to fill you in on some the things I hope not to forget. 

For the longest time Morgan would rev her fists like she was riding a motor cycle and when Morgan learned to point she would often forget to put her finger out, so she’d point full fisted like a super hero ready to take off. And take off she might. Now instead of riding a motor cycle, flap her arms like a bird when she is excited, sad, happy, or frustrated. She loves to climb the stairs and she is fast. When she reaches the top she could not be prouder of herself. Yesterday she must have had a run in with flinstones when I was not looking because her favorite phrase is now yabadaba. She is also proud to call he sister by name - AADEEE. Morgan is a great kisser (open fish mouth style) and also a super dancer. When you put on music she shakes her little butt back and forth from side to side with a big smile. She hates when doors shut, even if everyone is on her side of the door. She also loves to feed me her food – so generous. And when she likes what is being served, which is most the time, she does a little shimmy.

Addy loves to run, everywhere. She is the cutest runner I have ever seen. She picks her feet up real high and takes off regardless of what is in her path. Today she ran right into a women’s knee. Dog, Scout, and Ut-oh are her favorite words but she says them real slow—maybe a throw back to her southern roots. Unlike Morgan, Addy’s voice changes when she says real words. It is almost as if she knows all her other vocalizations are not comprehensible. And while other toddlers eat pasta she prefers peas, tofu, and yogurt. She is ticklish under her neck and loves to read but mostly in the bath. We have nicknamed her Dewey because she meticulously empties the bookshelf as if she has a better system of organization. As Addy grows longer and longer her waist and butt stay the same size. But she is catching up to Morgan, she is no longer 5 lbs lighter, now it is only 2 lbs difference. Now that I think about it, I will get her running hurdles early. Addy also loves the gravity game, let go, it falls, and mama picks it up. Her favorite toy is Leo the plastic dog. Up until recently, when I begged my friend Chelsea to let us keep him, he was also the only toy we did not have. Addy walks Leo on the leash everywhere. She gets frustrated if she does not have all four paws on the ground (the prerequisite for him to make the click-click sound) but always holds too far up the leash so that he is hanging by his neck. Then she stops firmly places him on the floor and goes at it again.

Both girls love Scout and Vern. They pat-pat them every day. They play ball with Scout all day and he loves it almost as much as they do. They also love playing tickle games with their Daddy. Today I came in from walking the dogs to the sweet sound of both girls laughing hysterically. Justin is great father and husband. Not in just the support way-although he does that, but in the action way. He takes care of the girls not because I ask him to or because he has to but because he truly wants to. Each Tuesdays and Thursdays are days with dad. I leave for work at 7 and when I come home at 5 the girls are happy, the house is clean, both girls are wearing their blue jeans, Addy has on her owl shirt, Morgie her stripped shirt (their cloths are washed on Wednesdays) the dogs have been walked (which is a huge feet in the land of rain), and dinner is made. He asks for nothing but a few minutes of sports talk with buddies in NC and a half hour of online free fake-money poker. In return he gives us love, support, and never ending care. In my wildest dreams I could not have asked for a more amazing man. We make a great team, we can sense when other needs a break, sleep, or care and do our best to provide. As I type he is scratching the dogs’ belly.

I cannot imagine the girls not having each other to play with. After a good meal or nap they play and play and play. They take out every piece of Tupperware, all the folding napkins, and anything safe enough for me to store on our lower shelves—plastic dishes, dish towels, sippy cups, the smoothie maker, diapers. You name in and it is off its self and on the floor in a matter of seconds. As we clean up one mess they made another. We joke they are trying to destroy the house, and are doing a good job. They play hid and seek around the kitchen table and laugh at each other all the time. They also love to be pushed in their carts, so one gets in and calls the other over to push.

Each night after a bath we play and read before better. 




It is some of my most cherished times. It is usually just me and the girls, they are always in a good mode, the day is almost done and they are full of love. Justin cleans up downstairs and comes up for a final cup of milk. Then, ours after Justin and I lay them down to the lullabies of Bob Marley or the Beatles, I go up and look at the heavenly gift I have been granted. So sweet, so precious, and so loved.

This past weekend was Halloween, my favorite holiday and not Justins. But I rallied some DuPre spirit (with the girls at least). On Saturday we went to an infant Halloween party. I am so lucky to have meet a really nice group of mom’s with great kids.  Here are some highlights:

First they girls thought they would go as a reggae band- their good friend Freyja would be Bob Marley

Then they decided they should go as something a little younger at heart.

Addy starred as the lion, and together with their friends- they went as the Wizard of Oz

Mom's dressed up too



They won the award for best group custom, but Addy was about done with all the paparazzi
Morgan was bit sad when the party ended

But she cheered up when I told her it was a Halloween weekend. Sunday morning they put on the super cute Halloween dresses their grandma Judy got them
Then they got dressed up ago to go trick or treating down town. Since we had some extra customs we figures we should put them to use So. . .

Addy was a frog


And Morgan a rabbit.it was a great weekend!







Saturday, October 23, 2010

October

Vern in the Park 

September was so rainy, but October made up for it. We had so much fun this month I really have not had time to write. Things are still really busy but great. The girls are learning to run and talk. Addy has so many bruises. But while Morgan lead the motor skills charge, Addy is leading the way on talking. Both girls can say Mama and Dada but in the last few days Addy has added ut-oh and dog to her vocab. Dare I say we have finally got sleeping under control and are getting some good rest. But of all the time I spend with the girls, the time I enjoy most is when all six of us make it out for a day at the park. October has made parks days awesome. The weather has been warm, sunny, and dry. Here are some highlights of October.

Addy Baye loving the leaves 

Really loving the leaves

Miss Morgan 

Morgie in the grass

The girls and I went with some great moms to the pumpkin patch. They also sell tress in December. Addy found one she really liked.

"Can we get this one?"

 The DuPre girls at Stoney Ridge Farm

 So we set out looking for a pumpkin . . . 

The girls on the lookout for a good one 

Still looking

Morgan picked out two - one for Scout and a 28lber now on our doorstep 

I carried the heavy one and Morgan carried Scouts

I have always loved Halloween and the pumpkin patch was so much fun. Both girls were in a great mood and loved the wheelbarrow ride. At one point Addy was the lookout directing me and Morgie was holding on to the pumpkin for dear life It was so cute. Stay tuned for the Halloween pictures coming soon.