Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bronwen and Ava's Cute Words

Tonight Bronwen made an airplane out of legos. She put on the wheels, wings, and a smiley face (airplanes need to have cute faces too, you know). Lastly, she plopped a large lego on top of the airplane's head. She then looked at Conrad and me and said, "My airplane friend needs to wear ear muffins so she can fly in the snow." Hee-hee!

Like her momma and aunties Natasha and Bianca, one of Ava's favorite foods is "wasanga". It's so cute that we can't bring ourselves to correct her because we love hearing it so much! "Ava, what are we having for dinner again?"...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our first snow in Seattle

True to the forecast it snowed about an inch in Seattle last night, leaving a beautiful Winter Wonderland.

The previous owner of our house let us know that the hill behind our backyard was a magnet to kids for sledding. Bronwen must have heard this through the grapevine because as soon as she saw the snow she said, "We have to put on our coats, mittens, hats and shoes and go down the big hill." We all had a great time!


video
Adventures on the big hill



Thursday, December 11, 2008

All jobs are not created equally...

Okay, sad, but good news...I quit the 'fantastic' job.

After looking for a job for six months I thought I found the answer to my prayers when I landed my job that offered 'flexible' hours.

When hired on I was told that I would have to work a swing shift for two weeks for on the job training. After that I could set my schedule as long as it met business needs.

Within one week I met with my boss, who then informed me that he needed me to continue working the swing shift for six weeks. It was a stretch, but I was willing to tough it out (as was Conrad who had already started going to work late to take care of Bronwen and Ava so I could sleep).

Well the last straw came Monday when I found out I had to work graveyard all of Christmas week (and New Year's Eve!). I realize the economy is terrible and employment options are grim, but some things, like the impact of a unpredictable schedule on my family, just aren't worth the money.

My takeaway, get clarification of what 'flexible' means (is it flexible for your or the company's benefit), and talk to current employees. I later found out the turnver rate ran rampid in this company. Gee, I wonder why...

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the creepy 60-year-old scientist who moonlights as a cross-dresser on the weekends (and carries around an 8X10 picture of him in drag to work). When he showed me the picture (he's standing next to a lady wearing the same outfit) he had the nerve to tell me, "I'm the one on the right." Yeah, I thought, I know. You mean the obvious looking man on the right wearing an obvious wig and obvious protruding fake boobs. Yeah, I know.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I got a job!

After a several month long job search, just when I had given up, I got a job!

I will be the supervisor of the forensics analytical lab, which processes 2000 samples/day. They operate under flexible hours, so Bronwen and Ava will only have to be in childcare 3.5 hrs/day (I was thinking about putting them into preschool anyway since the job search was taking so long), the commute is great (only 0.5 mile isn't on the highway -and it's against traffic), the pay is exactly what I wanted, and the people are great.

I couldn't have asked for anything more!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankful for so many things

Okay, okay, I know Thanksgiving is still 5 days away, but I truly feel thankful tonight.

Here are my top things I am thankful for:

1) Rollerskating with Conrad and the girls today

2) Cami printing out my resume

3) My dad's spaghetti recipe

4) Talking with my mom in the afternoon

5) Talking with Tash when she's on her way to work

6) Bianca visiting during the summer

7) Watching my dad play with Bronwen and Ava

8) Seeing Puppy Springer in the Halloween costume Bronwen and Ava picked out for her

9) Happy face balloons

10) Health

11) Going to the car show

12) Living the American dream

13) Staying home with my two little best friends for the last 6 months

14) Fireside chats with my best friend (Conrad how I love you!)

15) Having a beautiful life filled with family and friends

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Latest Home Projects

Conrad thought he was in the clear of home projects when we moved from ABQ because it put physical distance between me and my great friend, Fotini. See, what would happen is that I would go to Fotini's house, get inspired by something she had done, then come back to ours and want to 1) plant; 2) paint; 3) buy furniture.

Well, the projects have begun; I met my wonderful new friend and neighbor, Cami. Hee-hee! Cami is an artist, and likes colors. We went to her and her husband's house for dinner on Saturday, and inevitably two projects were born.

Project One, THE ISLAND
On Monday and Tuesday I stripped, sanded, primed and painted our kitchen island red. A vast improvement from it's earlier state (CORK BOARD on the back, stainless steel metal plates on the bottom of each leg, and an overall white and brown color combo). It was functional so I didn't want to get rid of it, but it just looked awful. It's like the old owners tried to buy an island that matched the cabinets, but they couldn't quite get it right...then the back of the island was originally white but they glued squares of cork board on the back (were they trying to camouflage the white with the cork board so it would look brown??). Anyway, I'm much happier with the new look. Now the floor... :-)

Project Two, Painting something for Bronwen and Ava in their rooms
Cami painted at beautiful ocean/beach scenery for her daughter in her room. I wasn't quite brave enough to paint on their walls, so I settled for their doors instead. Ava's is Silvermist, and Bronwen's is Tinkerbell. The girls got huge smiles on their faces when they saw the finished products, which made me feel like a queen.





My thoughts are if you're thinking about doing something bold in your house, go for it! You can always repaint/repair if it doesn't turn out, and it's so much fun!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oh the fun you can have with Thing One and Thing Two











"The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day."
The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss

I got out the glitter
And two containers of glue
Then wondered aloud
Why are the messiest of projects
What kids gravitate to?

Despite the newspaper
I laid out for her spot
Ava tipped over the glitter
And out came the mop
(I foolishly thought securing the table was enough)

Both girls covered in glue
From their heads to their toes
There was so much glitter on their shirts
They needed a change of clothes

By then it was two,
Plenty time left to play
So I succumbed to Bronwen's wishes
And put the tent out for the day

The lower floor is a disaster
And I'm afraid the mess will soon spread
To their room, my room,
And even to my bed

But I wouldn't change anything
About this cozy, wet day
I love my Thing One and Thing Two
More than any words can say.




Sunday, November 2, 2008

Homesick for Albuquerque

Well it looks like the rain we were promised for so long is finally here. I'm really missing the blue skies of Albuquerque, and all of my friends who live there. I'm happy that I've kept in frequent contact with most of you, but to those who I haven't talked to in a while, know that I'm thinking about you and miss you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Visit to Grandma's
















Monday, October 20, 2008

Trust your instinct

About two years ago I went to the dermatologist to get a couple of moles removed -one on my hip, and one on my nose. The one on my hip I wasn't worried about because it had been there for decades. It was along my pant line, therefore sometimes got irritated, and it seemed like with each pregnancy, it got bigger. The doctor removed that one without question. When I asked about the one on my nose, it was a different story. She hemmed and hawed, and said it was fine (even though it magically appeared), and that, "The scar would look worse than the bump." I listened to her and left it.

After looking at that stupid mole for two years though, I decided to go to a new dermatologist to get it removed once and for all. He looked at it, said it was probably fine, but he would shave the top off and examine. I got the results today -Basal Cell Carcinoma.

It sounds scary, but it really isn't too bad (especially in terms of getting a cancer). It is the most common type of skin cancer, doesn't metastasize, and is the easiest to treat. On the 29th they're going to go in and remove the rest of it, put in 1-2 stitches, and that'll be the end.

Thank goodness for my current doctor who removed it without questioning me. I regret that I didn't get this taken care of the first time around because I was embarrassed and didn't want to question the other doctor. I should've trusted my instinct!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rihanna's "Disturbia"

Is it just me, or is this the best new song EVER?! I absolutely love it. Must have listened to it a million times today. Even the girls are trying to sing the "Bam, bam, be dum" part. I put it in the number one slot of my playlist. To my friend Fotini, I think I like it even more because I swear Rihanna looks like you!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grandpa, Aunties and Favorite Friend Come to Visit






My dad, Aunties Natasha and Bianca and the girls' favorite friend Kevin all came up to visit for the day. We had a great time with fat-free pizza and cupcakes. ;-D I can't say it enough how thankful I am to be near my family. They are the only people who truly make me happy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ava is Three!






Three years and nine months ago something incredible happened; I became pregnant with Ava. Many of you know the story, however I never get tired of telling it because it is a testament that miracles really do come true.


Soon after Conrad and I got married we began trying to get pregnant. I thought it would be an easy process (how hard could it be, especially after trying to prevent for so long!). Long story short, one year went by, then began the visits to the fertility doctor, then began several rounds of less-invasive treatments, when finally after two years we graduated to invitro-fertilization. At that point the doctor told us we had a less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally. Fortunately for us, invitro worked the first try, and we had our first beautiful little girl, Bronwen.


After Bronwen was born I had such a sense of peace in my heart. Conrad and I were so happy with our little family, and naturally we talked about expanding it. We discussed the possibility of trying another round of invitro. I didn't rule it out, but I honestly wasn't sure if it was going to work again because the previous attempt (albeit we did get pregnant) didn't go very well. At the time, it didn't matter too much to me because Bronwen was still a newborn.


I went to my six week post-partum check-up and talked about contraceptives with my OBGYN. We actually laughed, LAUGHED, at the idea of me needing birth control after all I just went through. I went back to work, and simply fell into a routine. At the six month mark I weened Bronwen, and began going back to school for my Master's. Then came The Saturday. Conrad was on a motorcycle ride, and I was at home with Bronwen. I started thinking about my cycle, or my lack of one. "Nah," I thought. "It's gotta be my body getting back to normal from the pregnancy and nursing. Hmm...but still." I happened to have an extra pregnancy test from a two-pack I bought while trying for Bronwen, so I thought, "What the heck? I'll take it for fun." As the reaction took place, I couldn't believe my eyes; I was pregnant!


Against the odds, Conrad and I had Ava Marina Douglas on October 14, 2005, and technically got pregnant "on the first try". I am a true believer in miracles, and hope you all are too. I told a friend of mine that during my infertility ordeal I thought there had to be something special about people who good things happen to. Like they had some sort of special quality that would allow them to get what they wanted. After having Bronwen, my whole outlook changed. Instead of looking for what qualities they had that I lacked, I started thinking if good things can happen to them, then why not me? I'm not sure if that is what allowed me to become pregnant with Ava, but it certainly has made me happy in life. There are no sure bet qualities or circumstances that can make something happen for you, but there is a steadfast belief that can see you through.


Happy birthday Ava, and thank you for reminding me.






Saturday, October 4, 2008

You got a friend in me, ta da da


Conrad and I pretty much have Toy Story 2 memorized because the girls were watching it so often in Albuquerque (not that we minded because it is a pretty cute movie). In all of the excitement of the move though, they must have forgotten about it, and then switched to 101 Dalmatians and Beauty and the Beast. Well last week they rediscovered their beloved treasure.


After watching the movie, Ava came up to me and said, "Maybe I can get a Woody costume and Bronwen can wear her Buzz, and we can be same-same (they match the movie)." Now this melted my heart and I'll tell you why. Ava never asks for anything. She is very easy going, and more than anything else just enjoys having a good time. She's the type who always shares everything, kisses mommy and daddy's owies, and loves to cuddle. So, of course I had to get her the costume. Bronwen and Ava had a great time reenacting their favorite scenes for the rest of the afternoon.

video

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If you don't do it this year, you'll be a year older when you do.






This quote got to me today for a couple of reasons. The first is because it's Conrad's birthday. The pictures highlight the girls and me getting the house ready for Dad (sadly Bronwen has inherited my OCD for cleaning), the party, and some of Bronwen and Ava just loving life.


After cake I asked Conrad if he accomplished everything he wanted to for the year. "Yeah, pretty much everything." We got the house sold and finally moved to WA, he's making ground at work, and basically everything else is good. That got me thinking about myself. Will I accomplish what I want? The truth is, I'm not really sure what I want, and the cool part is that I get it's okay.


As many of you know, I was a chemist at Sandia National Labs for seven years. Work was very rewarding. I generated results, won awards, and truly loved my job. I figured with my background I would easily get hired on somewhere up in Seattle. I'm now near month four. The funny thing is the more I stay at home, the more I go from being depressed and not really knowing what I should do with my life (go back to school to change professions? stay at home and have more babies? keep flooding the job market?) to being deliriously happy. Love fills my heart to be the person Bronwen and Ava run to when they get hurt. It's rewarding to see the results of teaching them (Bronwen is starting to read/write, and Ava is matching sounds to letters to begin sounding them out). The love is almost palpable in the house because we're together all the time and relaxed.


Anyway, my take away is screw worrying about the timeline, as long as the interim is good.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Honest Critics

Two people who weigh under 40 pounds aren't afraid to put me in my place (and I'm their lifeblood!).

Latest Episode:
Bronwen, Ava and I went up to OR again to visit my family. The weather was gorgeous on Thursday, so we took advantage and went swimming. After living in NM for so many years and seeing the effects of too much sun exposure (think cataracts at 40 yrs old, friends with skin cancer, women who look like human shammies), Conrad and I are pretty vigilant when it comes to sun protection. Nonetheless, the girls got a little bit of a tan, which made their skin look beautiful. I commented to Conrad, "Look how beautiful their skin is. It's like peaches and cream." Bronwen then looked at me, smiled, then said, "But yours doesn't." I was laughing so hard I could barely read the book she brought me.

Early Summer Episode:
When we first moved to our house I missed the highway exit twice to get back home. Finally on the third try, success! I was so excited I started yelling, "Yahoo! Your momma is so smart, we did it! Hooray!" Instead of joining me in celebration, Ava looks at me seriously, "Momma, you're not a cowboy." Ha!

American Idol Episode:
What can I say, but I love American Idol. It's entertaining, and one of few shows that Conrad and I can watch with the girls in the room. During the tryouts, a girl sang The Power of Love (by Celine Dion). Bronwen was pretty quiet during the audition. Afterward, she looked at me and asked, "Momma, do you know how to sing that song?" I said, "Yeah!" then proceeded to sing a verse. It was a beautiful moment. Bronwen and I had our eyes locked. She looked mesmerized by my voice. When I finished singing the song, I foolishly asked her, "Do you like that song?" She said, "No." I felt about 10 inches tall.

Well, at least I know who to turn to when I want an honest opinion.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fun Forest





I mentioned in a previous blog that I couldn't wait to go back to Seattle Center, and a few weeks ago I did just that! I'll start by saying it's amazing how much fun it is to be a kid again.


My sister (Auntie Bianca) came up again for a day of whirlwind fun. Each time she visits I like to go out and really have a good time. Her company makes me feel more adventurous (she is the human compass, therefore we never get lost), and because I imagine how special the memories will be for the girls of them spending time with their Auntie. Since Bronwen and Ava loved the Children's Museum last time, we decided to check it out again. As you can see in the pictures, we managed to get sidetracked while walking from the parking lot to the museum.


Out in front of the Space Needle, Children's Museum, Museum of Science Fiction, etc. (told you it was a great place!), there is a variety of amusement park rides (actual name is Fun Forest). The best part is that both Bronwen and Ava were tall enough to go on them! We ended up spending the majority of our time there, then stopped at the museum. Just be forewarned, it can get expensive. As I wrote in our bill register (after I laid out the grand total), "Fun = Pricey" (not "Priceless" like Mastercard advertises). ;-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ode to the Balloon






How could I have known that the most entertaining item to give to Ava would cost less than $10, and not be a toy? And so it began: a love affair with a balloon.


I took the girls up to OR to visit my mom and Auntie Natasha for a night. Literally within five minutes of arriving to the house, Ava found her most prized possession -a yellow smiley face balloon- and fell in love. She cried for her balloon when Grandma put jelly on it for a photo op. Just in case you were wondering mom, she does remember the terrible incident.


Ava: "Momma, do you remember when Grandma put jelly on my balloon?"

Me: "Yes Ava."

Ava: "Ya, she was crazy!"


She ate with her balloon.


She took her balloon upstairs to watch cartoons in my bed.


Bronwen and Ava have shown their devotion to the balloon by drawing several pictures of it!


The whole thing is very sweet and funny to watch. It also gave me the answer to how I should decorate the house for Ava's upcoming birthday -with plenty of balloons!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy 7th Anniversary!



Today is one of the most wonderful days that I am going to remember; it is Conrad and my 7th anniversary. I don't know why this anniversary is so special to me, but it is. For some reason it just feels like we're making history together. We're raising a family, and building on a foundation that has real weight to it. I look at where we started, and I had no idea how beautiful our life would turn out together. I never knew what true love could be like; to have my best friend and lover by my side. Each day I love you more and more, Conrad. Thank you for always taking care of me and our family. You are an amazing husband and father. And, I know I put Shania Twain's "From this Moment" on the playlist for today to celebrate our marriage, but as I'm looking at you, maybe I should put on "Bringing Sexy Back!"
Re. the picture on the bottom. It is of Conrad's legs, and one of my legs resting on the same chair at our old house. Bronwen took it a few months ago. I love it because it shows how much we love to be right next to each other, even after all these years... :-D

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The REAL Children's Museum

Since we've been out here I 've tried to make it a point to go on a big field trip every week with the girls. It gives us an excuse to get out of the house, and is a great way to learn our way around. Today we went to the more famous Children's Museum, which is located in Seattle Square. It's a stone's throw from the Space Needle!

Some of you may understand the significance of this trip. One of my phobias is driving in areas that I don't well. Case in point: I was so freaked out while driving on the six-lane highway (where lanes suddenly end and people fly by you, if I may add!), that when a stretch of pavement got really bumpy I became convinced that there was something wrong with one of my tires, and that I was about to veer out of control at any minute. I knew I was being crazy, so I fought the urge to pull over, and just stayed the course. My car was fine mind you. I only tell you this example so you can understand the ridiculous thoughts and "what ifs" that go through my head when I am driving to unknown locations!

Anyway, we made it and had a wonderful time. I definitely recommend this location to everyone (couples and families)! Within a quarter mile you have the museum, the Seattle Music Project (another museum), the Space Needle, amusement park-type rides, food, etc.. I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Haircut



It's amazing how a new do can make you feel better! For the last year I've been sporting the trendy wedge cut that almost everyone seems to have. I also found a stylist who I really loved in Albuquerque. So before we moved, I made sure to squeeze in one more appt. Murphy's Law, when I got there, I found out she wasn't in (she didn't realize she had an appt.). They asked if I wanted to wait an hour for her to drive over, but I said no because I needed to pick up the kids. Well, another stylist was in, and she said, "Hey, my 2 o'clock canceled, so I can do it." I was so happy, I said sure. All was fine until halfway through the process she said, "This is one of the most difficult cuts. It's been the hardest for me to learn." I was like, great, this doesn't sound good for me. It wasn't.


I don't know what she did, but the back looked like a weird mushroom, and front sloped in like a catfish. I was trying to be patient to let it grow out for a while (it's been two months), but today I couldn't take it anymore! Somehow I thought it would be a good idea for me to be Edward Scissorhands! It's not like I could have done more damage! ;-D


Anyway, the verdict is in -not too bad! Maybe this should be my career...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bronwen and Ava go to the movies for the first time!








On Friday we got a call from Auntie Bianca to say that she was coming up for a visit. Bronwen and Ava were so excited. For the rest of the afternoon, almost all of the conversations between the girls and me were:




Bronwen/Ava: "What is going to happen after we wake up tomorrow?"


Me: "We'll eat breakfast."


Girls: "Then what momma?"


Me: "Oh, I don't know...chores?"


Girls: "No momma, tell us!"


Me: "Oh I know! Your Auntie Bianca is coming."


Girls: "Yeah! What time?"


Me: "Around 12."


Girls: "When is it 12?"...




It was obvious the anticipation was killing them. They couldn't wait!




Well Bianca pulled into the driveway right on schedule. Conrad made us lunch, we loaded up in the car to get a caffeine fix from Starbucks, then to the movies!




Conrad had been wanting to take the girls to see WALLE for about a month now. Some of his favorite memories with his dad were of them going to the theater, so he wanted to pass on the 'tradition". We all had a great time, and actually got to stay for the whole show! The best part for me was watching Bronwen with Ava. Even though they are only 16 months apart, Bronwen really is the world's best big sister. She would get popcorn and candy for herself, then look at Ava and say, "Here Sissy -open up," and pop a treat into Ava's mouth. It is so beautiful to see how caring they are to one another. On a funny note, one of the characters is named "Eve", but they pronounce it as "Eva." The whole time, Ava kept saying, "They said Ava!" She was very excited and rather loud about it too! ;-)