Thursday, December 29, 2011

Duffy Christmas Party 2011

Isn't it funny how you can go several years without knowing that a great friend is only a few doors down?!

When Ava started kindergarten she became friends with a little girl named Addyson. I swear, when you look at them, you know why they're little magnets to one another. They are so similar that even their teacher gets them confused! While waiting to pick Ava up from school I got to know Addyson's mom, Stacie. They moved into the neighborhood around the same time we did, have three children, & are very similar to us! Soon came the play dates after school, then birthday parties. After a couple of months I exclaimed to Stacie, "Where have you been all this time & why didn't I know you before?" :-)

Anyway, this year we were invited to their first annual dress-up Christmas party. Cate found the popcorn right away, the girls found the toys & we found the wine. We had a great time!

I am so proud of my family. My Superman still takes my breath away when I look at him~ Con, I love you & your boots!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bianca & Kevin's Wedding!!!

We got to Timberline Lodge up on Mt. Hood at 3 in the afternoon on Thursday, December 15th. It was a snowy paradise. Even the drive up was magical as we passed by glistening waterfalls & snowy banks with tiny paw prints on them.

The girls squealed with excitement as they gathered up small piles of snow (& subsequently pelted one another) in the parking lot. We walked into the lodge, &, "Wow!" Built in the 1930's out of timber & stone, you can tell how much love & work went into the building. It seemed like everywhere we looked, we'd find some intricate carving. The rugs are handwoven, the chandeliers are made of antlers; it is simply amazing. I don't remember being in a building that felt so solid, for lack of better words. To make things even better, our room was already ready!

After unpacking, we headed to the "cafe" on the second floor (our room was #218). The cafe was more like a lounge where you can enjoy the best cup of chilli or clam chowder (or cocoa) with a panoramic view of the mountain. I told Conrad I've never seen clouds like that except while on a plane!

Next up was the rehearsal & dinner. That is when Conrad & the girls got to meet my aunt & uncle from Bogota, Colombia for the first time. Words could not express how it felt to see them after 14 years. My sister, Natasha, pulled Bronwen & Ava aside & taught them how to introduce themselves in Spanish. Ava went first & said, "Me llamo es Ava." Then Bronwen went, "Me llamo es Brrrrronwen (rolling the "R")." It was fantastic! We all ate a delicious dinner, courtesy of Kevin's parent, drank & headed to bed.

The next day...on the agenda was the Magic Mile Skyride! With a short time-line & 3 little ones, we knew skiing wouldn't be much of an option, but at least experiencing the lift would! We bundled up & went all the way to the top of the mountain, then back down. Conrad got some great shots! Of course the girls had to make a snowman too! It was hilarious, Ava, with her little powerhouse body made a snowball that was about 2 ft in diameter! That was the base. Another funny part was Cate laying down, fluttering her arms, trying to make a snow angel. :-) By 11 a.m., it was time to get ready for the wedding.

All I'll say is that I doubt there has ever been a cuter wedding party -we were decked out! Lauren, one of Bianca's good friends, & her sister, Alexis, helped all of with our hair. I could tell how happy Bronwen & Ava were to be part of the women. My mom came up to the room too, dressed to kill in a fitted gold dress. She is incredible!

This wedding was filled so many touching moments. My favorite memory is of all of us dancing to The Isley Brothers' "Shout." I swear, I get teary-eyed with joy when I think about it. There's a part in the song when it says, "A little bit softer now -shout, a little bit softer now -shout" & everyone gets quieter & quieter & lower & lower to the ground. Conrad was dancing with Cate, getting lower & lower, I was with my sisters & my darling little girls were there, dancing with their uncles, looking at them as they were getting closer & closer to the ground. It was such a magical moment, I'll never forget it. Best of all, Tom, my mom's boyfriend, captured it.

Another cute part was during the ceremony itself. I didn't think Cate would make it down the aisle herself, so I carried her, but Bronwen & Ava were 100% ready for the job. Without any hesitation, they gracefully decorated the aisle with petals. At at the end of the aisle though, Ava noticed that there were still many petals left in the basket. Keeping up with what her Uncle Kevin told her, "I want you to put a lot of petals up at the front for Bianca & me," Ava tipped the basket all the the over to make sure the area was covered. Everyone cracked up!

All in all, we had an amazing time! Thank you Bianca & Kevin for letting us be a part of the greatest moment in your lives. Here's to a beautiful life together. :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The menu:

Beef Tamales
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Brocolli Caserole (Delicious by the way!)
Pumpkin Pie
Brownie/Cookie Swirl Bars
Sparkling Apple Cider

Favorite memory of cooking Thanksgiving:

Bronwen, Ava & Cate (!) helping me wash the turkey & make the basting sauce.

Funniest memory:

Conrad lecturing me on how he would burn his fingers if we didn't let the turkey set out for 30 minutes (I was starving by then, so wanted to speed things up). ;-)

Favorite memory of Thanksgiving dinner:

Cate doing "cheers" with her little wine glass to all of us.

This is heaven on earth. :-)

Belated Halloween Post ;-)

November has been the busiest on record for MichelleDouglasPhotography. This month I had 8?! photo shoots -perfect for holiday shopping! Yippee! All the work made for a lack of time for me to update our blog though, so now that Cate's sleeping, I thought I'd catch up!

Halloween was a bit of a blur this year. I think it was because Ava's birthday was a Halloween-themed costume party, so we kind of felt like we had already celebrated the holiday. The date did not go unnoticed by the girls haha! As soon as they got home from school they started asking Conrad & me when was it going to be time to go trick-or-treating. I made an early dinner & at 530 I started getting everyone ready. Bronwen was a Greek Goddess, Ava was a Darling Angel & Cate was SuperBaby! By 6-o-clock our doorbell started ringing. The plan was for Conrad to take Bronwen & Ava around the neighborhood while Cate & I passed out candy (we really thought she'd like that, & for the record, we did have her in her costume). As soon as Cate saw her sisters getting on their coats & shoes & heading to the door, she started crying. And I mean tear-your-heart-out crying. She ran to the closet & said, "Shoes! Shoes!" My heart brooookkkke. There was no way we could not take her with her sisters.

I told Conrad to give me a minute so I could put on my shoes & jacket & make a sign for the candy (we were going to just leave it by the front door). Then Conrad, my Superman, said, "Don't worry Michelle! I can take all three girls." He then smiled & scooped Cate up in his arms. He is the best dad in the world.

Baby, I love you forever~

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ava is 6!!!

This year Conrad & I decided to do something crazy! We invited 50 people over to our home to celebrate Ava's 6th birthday, Halloween style!

The girls & I went to the Dollar Tree & bought neon Caution tape, spider webs, paper lanterns, plates, witches, skeletons, you name it! Everything to transform our garage into the perfect Halloween den! We even played spooky music!

With so many children, I knew we had to have an agenda to keep the kids entertained. First up was making a treat bag for a backyard candy hunt! The kids had fun finding treats in the grass & plants, & fortunately it was warm outside. The little ones got lollipops. After loading up on candy, it was time to load up on pizza. I have to say, I love Little Caesar's. We were able to feed everyone for only $65. Gotta love that! With tummies full, it was time to play the limbo, listen to scary Halloween stories (though the kids informed us that they weren't scared at all -ha!) & play a unwrap the candy bar game (layer the candy with wrapping paper, pass it around & the person who unwraps the last piece of paper gets the candy). Last but not least, we had a costume contest. Our little neighbors across the street won by far for their elaborate hair & makeup.

On Ava's actual birthday (the day before) we had a wonderful, quiet day. The girls happened to be off of school for a Teacher's Inservice Workshop. We went to the gym, then went to McDonald's (tradition) to get Halloween Happy Meals, then finished buying all the party stuff. We ate hamburgers at Ava's request, followed by chocolate cake.

Some fun things about Ava are:
Her favorite movie is Barbie Charm school.
Her favorite color is still blue.
Her favorite thing to play is dog & owner.
Her favorite season is summer.
Her favorite song is Queen's "Bicycle".
Her favorite stuffed animal is Cookie, the black & white dog.
She loves "D Time" (cuddling with daddy)
She's lost 6 teeth.

She is one of the most beautiful & loving people I have ever met. Her heart is pure gold. Happy birthday sweetheart!