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Being silly.

Posted July 15th, 2008 at 1:07 pm by Ashley

1 year, 12 days, 6 hours, 18 minutes old

Like 2-3 weeks ago.

The Elmo cake.

Posted July 7th, 2008 at 10:54 pm by Ashley

1 year, 4 days, 16 hours, 5 minutes old


This is Ali’s Elmo cake that we MADE. And DECORATED. I know, it turned out pretty good, didn’t it. Before this though, we went to the Jordan Creek mall with Karen, Martha, Georgia, and Martha’s friend. Before that we stopped by Pink Hippo Bows where Ali got a few more "birthday presents." Actually they were probably more for me. Last year Karen bought Ali some tiny, tiny bows at the local farmer’s market (and if you’re an avid reader you probably saw the girl wear them often). We then ordered more from their website. Then, they opened a store and we got to visit. I am loving our purchases. You will perhaps spot these cute bows from now on.

Anyway, we went to the mall and they have a really cool kid’s area. Ali had so much fun and is such a little butterfly/daredevil. She tries to make friends with anyone and everyone. She’s also not afriad to climb up, down, or around anything. It was kind of scary to watch. And older girls (like 3-6) absolutely FLOCK to her. It was so hilarious to watch.

And now, the progression of Elmo! We didn’t leave the mall until pretty late. Ali almost fell asleep while eating in the food court. When we got home Georgia helped Tony and I bake the cake, then Karen came home and the four of us ate ice cream while we waited for it to cool. Then the decorating began. We didn’t finish until 11:30pm or so but it was worth it.

The Swalla farm.

Posted July 7th, 2008 at 10:31 pm by Ashley

1 year, 4 days, 15 hours, 42 minutes old

As already mentioned Wednesday we ventured out to the Swalla farm in Stuart, Iowa. It was like thirty or forty minutes west of where we were staying in Johnston. I think we were able to get up, showered, and ready by just after ten. Tony’s Grandma Swalla lives on the farm, along with one of her (fourteen!) children, Rosie, and her three kids (Jonathon, whom just graduated high school but we didn’t get to see; Kaitlin, and Megan).

The first thing I noticedwhen we pulled up was KITTENS! I love, love, love kittens but am less enamored with cats. Speaking of cats, Trista told me last night my cat, Peaches, died. I got Peaches when she was just a kitten from a friend the summer before I went into 4th grade. She was 14 years old. Today when I asked what happend Trista said they think she might have been eaten(!) because they haven’t found her and that she had a seizure a few days earlier. I asked aboutthe seizure and she said ti was a "funny story" and she’d tell me later. Bad enough that my cat dies (though, to be honest, I haven’t lived with her for anmost five years so I don’t really feel as if she’s mine anymore) but…THIS?!? I don’t want to think about it.

Anyway, it was really nice to see more of Iowa on the drive out. I’ve never been to the midwest so I spent a ton of time just staring out the window being amazed at how far you could see. And, in Johnston, at the amazing, amazing houses. They all looked like mini plantation mansions.

After playing around for awhile (well, Ali at least) and searching outsome animals (I think we came across three kittens, one momma cat, and two dogs) we satdown for lunch. Grandma Swalla made a rice casserole that was not only good, but that Ali loved at well. She ate so much I was surprised there was anymore left to put the birthday cake she was later presented with.

This picture cracks me up!

Can we say sugar coma?

So excited about her card. Seriously, this kid LOVES cards.

Ali loved playing in this tiny rocking chair that was Grandma Swalla’s mother’s. It is nearly 100 years old!

So cute!

After more playing we went out to tour the farm. That is when Rosie came home so Ali and I got to meet her. By this time Ali was so, so exhausted (kind of a theme from here on out) so we really had to just go. But we had such a nice time and I really wish we could have stayed longer and can go back for a more extend timein the near future. Farm life is so very different from anything I’ve ever been around (even if it wasn’t exactly the crop-growing type of farm) and the space and isolation are so interesting.

In the morning there were some sprinkles too…the only moisture we saw for the week. To give some perspective, it rained a good portion of our drive home from PDX. Welcome back to the NW!

Also, I uploaded the first of three (so far!) photo albums. Check it out here.

The first two days.

Posted July 7th, 2008 at 11:36 am by Ashley

1 year, 4 days, 4 hours, 47 minutes old

Okay…I am going to try to get through these as quickly as possible. If you’ve noticed I haven’t uploaded new photos yet, I’m waiting until I’ve had a chance to post about them first, but soon people, soon.

Monday I mostly slept. I fell asleep at, like, noon and didn’t wake up until 4pm. Ali napped with me at the end and I have no idea what else happened during that time. I know Tony did NOT sleep. Then we had dinner, Karen made meatballs which is a favorite of Ali’s. After dinner, about 7pm or so, I went upstairs to put Ali to sleep and…fell asleep again! Slept through the night, clothes and all. Besides getting little sleep the night before I attribute part of this to not having and coffee that day when I usually drink 2-3 cups. Again, I don’t know what went on that night, Tony may fill in some of the blank spots as he stayed up a few more hours.

Tuesday morning we went to watch Martha play a match of tennis for this tournament she was in. She’s really good, especially for someone who hasn’t been playing that long and was going against really competitive girls. Watching made both Tony and I wish we could spend more time playing ourselves. Babysitting, anyone?

I think Tuesday was the hottest day we had, upper eighties maybe? Yes, we were blessed with basically mild weather. It could have been much hotter which would have been a huge shock to our systems. As it was it quickly became apparent that I just don’t have the wardrobe for hot weather. One pair of longerish bermuda shorts doesn’t really suffice. Obviously we live in a place where pants year-round is a definite possibility.

So in the afternoon we went to Hyperion, a country club that the Carrolls (Tony’s dad’s family with whom we were staying) belong to. They have an outdoor pool with this amazing kiddie area. Ali seriously had the time of her life.

She basically has the doggy paddle down already!

All Georgia’s friends gathered around (Georgia is on the left).

Later that evening We were just hanging around in the backyard and Georgia was reading Ali her [Ali’s] favorite book ever. Enter Hallie (pronounced like Ali but with an "H"). Ali and Hallie were so cute together, weary at first but eventually warming up to one another. Ali would go over and pat her, even kiss her on the face! The funniest thing was when either of them was called, both would come because their names sounded so much alike.

Ali hinting to Aunt Georgia.

Sad it’s over.

Moving on to "Aloha is…"

I think Tuesday was also the night we played a modified version of Apples to Apples. Modified in that George, Tony’s dad, was the one and only judge. Anyone who’s played the game knows that the better you know the judge the bigger your advantage. Since I was playing with Tony and Georgia (and later with Georgia’s friend Emma) I started out at a distinct disadvantage but I think I ended up doing pretty well. Something about finishing up the green card brilliant and my laying down lawyers. I’ll let you guess as to George’s occupation.

In the evening we ventured out to Target, a necessity as we were low on diapers. Can’t waste precious luggage space with something you can easily buy, you know. There we also ended up picking some items out for the birthday girl. It’s so funny how a Target can seem so special and full of possibility when you don’thave one near and rarely get to go to one. Tony bought toys and I picked out two outfits. No surprises there, right?

I also think Tuesday was the day that we went to the library to get the pan (yes, you can BORROW mold pans from the library there, how cool is that?) to make Ali’s Elmo cake. This was Tony’s brainchild and you’ll see much more of it later.

The next morning we needed to get up and get going as early as we could manage because we were heading out to the Swalla farm for lunch and an early birthday semi-celebration.

Getting there.

Posted July 6th, 2008 at 1:48 pm by Ashley

1 year, 3 days, 6 hours, 59 minutes old

First, I would like to say that I truly didnot anticipate the recovery time we, and especially Ali would need from this trip. Geez, we’re still worn out. To the point of feeling almost hungover! And Ali…she took a good nap flying into Portland, slept most of the nearly two hour ride home and went to bed at 5pm! I thought it was just a nap so she was still in her clothes and everything. She woke up once earlyin the morning and laid with/played around me for about an hour before going back to sleep until, like, nine thirty.

Today we have to work on re-training her to sleep in the crib, which she is throwing a big fit about. One of my least favorite things. We also really need to go to thestore as there is no substantial food in the house to speak of, definitely nothing remotely fresh or parishable, but finding the energy or desire to get up and out is proving to be a struggle. Also wondering why I bothered to clean before leaving. Coming home somehow seemed to tear the whole house apart. 

Anyway, backing up:

We left here around 8pm last Sunday. Ali slept in the car. Got to the airport and did long-term parking. Ali woke up and was excited and confused. We took the shuttle and checked our bags and the whole time Ali was so cute talking and smiling and having a great time. We checked two bags and had two backpacks, Ali’s little suitcase, a stuffed diaper bag, and a stroller to carry on. Which, plus Ali, was a LOT to lug through the airport. SO GLAD we ended up vetoing the carseat.

Entertaining herself at the gate.

Mom and Dad.

Ali stayed up and played until we got on the plane and fell asleep just before take-off (about 12:30pm). We flew first to the Minneapolis airport, a little over three hour flight. So we got there just after 5am after the two hour time change. Ali didn’thave a seat and I have to say it is a pain to have a one year old on your lap. And it was exclusively my lap b/c I’m the one she sleeps with and we were desperate to do whatever possible to keep her asleep. I slept a little but with my arm squished between the girl and the armrest my hand kept falling asleep and waking me up. Eventually the sun started to rise (so amazing to see from the sky!) and I just stayed up. I don’t think Tony slept much, if at all.

Over Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes.

Tired eyes.

Landed in Minneapolis and she’s still sleeping.

Ali didn’t wake until we were in the airport. And then she woke very happy and excited. She was seriously so funnywith all her airport wakes. Not at all how she normally wakes up. In Minneapolis we had about an hour to make ourway across their HUGE airport (from gate F to A something). I started to feel a little sick on the first flight (I get motion sick pretty easily) so I took a non-drowsy Bonine at the gate (thanks Alyssa!). Almost immediately, probably because my stomach was empty and I had slept very little, drowsiness set in. 

The flight to Des Moines was on a tiny, tiny plane. It was scary tiny- at least to me. Again, Ali fell asleep before take-off and didn’t wake up until we were in the airport. What a good girl! I also slept through most ofthe short flight. I don’t think Tony did though. He is crazy like that.

We got into Des Moines at about 8:30. Karen and Martha (Tony’s stepmom and sister) picked us up. We didn’t even have to wait at baggage, apparently a benefit of having taken a tiny plane. And then the fun began…


Posted July 5th, 2008 at 6:05 pm by Ashley

1 year, 2 days, 11 hours, 16 minutes old

We’re back. Hope to get time to post pictures and write stories soon. Until than, we’ve made it, left with a baby and returned with a ONE YEAR OLD, had an amazing time with amazing people and are now completely and utterly exhausted.

And a little sunburned…

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Tillamook Dairy Parade.

Posted June 28th, 2008 at 7:24 pm by Ashley

11 months, 25 days, 12 hours, 35 minutes old

Today was the much anticipated parade. We left here at ten (Tony had a usabilty for 8-9am this morning and I had to shower so that was as quicky as we got ready). We got there about a half hour early and it was packed! At least downtown where we wanted to be. We were lucky to find a small spot between two groups and I was glad Tony talked me into bringing only a nlabket (versus chairs and a stroller). The parade was an hour and a half! It started at 11am and didn’t get done until 12:30. We were in the sun the whole time and it was bordering on hot (big change for around here).  Even though we all put on sunscreen I was worried. Luckily no one is obviously burned.

After the parade we spent a half hour or so at the grand opening of the Democratic office (once known as the Obama office) even though niether of us are Dems anymore. Then we had to stop at Freddies for some last minute trip items (more SPF, shampoo, deoderant, snacks, etc.). Ali fell asleep in the three or so minutes it took to drive there. And stayed asleep while Tony took her out of the car,carried her throughout the whole store, AND put her back in. That is one thing this child has NEVER done. She was that exhausted. Besides the sun and excitement I blame it on all the parade food (there were Tillamook Cheese Factory samples, candy, otter pops, and even beef sticks!). After that (by now 2pm easily) we went through the Subway drive-thru for lunch. Then she woke up and struggled the 25-30 minutes home. Amazing how much longer the trip is when everyone and their mother is in town.

We hoped to get some time at the beach today but missed low tide by almost an hour. We got down around 4pm and spent an hour mostly lounging. Everyone is tired. Ali would have fallen asleep in her high chair a few minutes ago if I hadn’t actively kept her awake. Now to run around doing this, that, and the other.

Look, honest-to-God pigtails!!!

She loooooooves to suck on ice.

Keeping hydrated.


Posted June 27th, 2008 at 5:41 pm by Ashley

11 months, 24 days, 10 hours, 52 minutes old

It’s so nice out…warm even! Alas there is wind, wind, and more wind. The kind that whips the sand up so it hurts when it hits you. So we were all ready for the beach (there was an awesome really low tide at 2pm) and had to turn back. Even the pool in the front of the house it not enjoyable. *sigh* I’ve been looking forward to this heatwave all week.

At least yesterday was nice. And we had the sense to get out and enjoy it versus banking on more nice days to come.

We went to the beach around 11:30am.

This was after swmming in the pools that come out when the tide is low.

In the afternoon we got the pool out and played in the driveway.

And even caught a CLEAR sunset!

Tomorrow morning there is a parade in Tillamook that we are going to. And then an office opening afterward that…maybe? Haven’t confirmed that in a couple days. After that we hope to enjoy some nice weather and then….concetrate on finally getting ready for Iowa! That has been my plan for a week now until I realized there really isn’t much I can do. Except stay as on top of laundry, dishes, and cleaning as I can. Most things need to wait until the day of or before. In our case we are flying out of PDX at 12:30am Monday. We’re planning to leave four hours early (8:30pm Sunday) so that leaves an entire "day of" during which a lot can be done. I just want to leave a house I’m happy to come home to. Besides being packed, rested, and otherwise prepared that is my number one goal.

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Being maternal.

Posted June 27th, 2008 at 10:59 am by Ashley

11 months, 24 days, 4 hours, 10 minutes old

One morning last week:


Posted June 25th, 2008 at 11:42 am by Ashley

11 months, 22 days, 4 hours, 53 minutes old

Where is this heat wave?!?! Grrr, it’s cloudy and cooooold right now.

After three one-a-nap-days Ali is now taking a very definite morning nap. Which means probably an afternoon one as well. I’m okay with that, trying to cut down to one has been difficult. Especially when it takes twenty minutes to get anywhere so she always falls asleep. Usually twice (there and back). And there goes nap time. I need a better break than that! And she needs more that 25 or so minutes of sleep a day. Yesterday that’s allshe had between 8am and 7pm. Though I must say it’s nice when she goes down so easy, so early.


Here’s the girl yesterday.

The sunset.

And my arm after having given blood.