Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zavion is FIVE!


It is SO hard for me to believe that my little man has turned five. Luckily, being on vacation on his actual birthday helped distract me from it a little, but I still find myself feeling wistful thinking of him as a little baby coming home from the hospital.
And, of course this milestone birthday required a big ol' birthday bash (well, that's pretty much how we do things around here anyway!), so as soon as we got back from our trip, I got to work on his party. Since, I'm a bit of a bargainer, I try to create as many of my own party things as possible. I also love the satisfaction I feel when I've created a party from scratch. And, I'm pretty confident in my craftiness that I usually accomplish what I set out to do. ;o) Luckily I had made most of the decorations before we left on vacation, so I just had a few things left to finish when we got back.
This year's party theme, as chosen by Mr. Zavion himself, was 'Monster Bash.' He's now old enough where he, not only, got to pick out a theme (before you go thinking I was brave letting him decide, you should know that he was given several to choose from...lol) but even made some suggestions about activities. He was very set on having apple bobbing, and I thought that sounded liker a perfect Fall birthday party activity. He also wanted to know if there would be dancing... Dancing? What, is he five or 15? Haha! But, I decided if my boy wanted to dance, there would be dancing! So, I kind of restructured the musical chairs, aka 'Monster Mash' game I had planned, so the kids could dance until the music stopped (instead of the traditional walking in a circle around the chairs) than sit down.
So, the day of the party came and Z was very excited. He made sure to wear his new monster shirt that Grandma bought him and planted himself in front of the window to wait for the guests.
Once everyone arrived, he truly was the king of the party! He loves any kind of social gathering anyway, but anything where the focus is all on his, is just heaven in his book!
After everyone had eaten, we started on the activities. Z turned out to be surprisingly good at apple bobbing and was very proud of himself at how well he did. Then we moved onto monster bingo, which the kids loved (especially since Colin decided they could use candy corn as markers, which meant big piles of candy just sitting there in front of them...). We played a few games of that, than let the kids get crafty by making their own monster masks.
After that, it was Z's favorite party activity of all; blowing out his birthday candles! In fact, he was so excited that he didn't even let us finish signing 'Happy Birthday' to him before he blew out his candles. Silly guy!
After all the kids finished their cupcakes and were sufficiently tinted green (gotta love those store-bought cupcakes!) it was on to presents!
This is probably Z's second favorite birthday party activity, not so much because of the gifts, but because he gets everyone's full attention on him for a lengthy period of time...hahaha! He got some pretty awesome gifts, including some cool Hot Wheels cars and tracks, the pair of overalls he had been begging for for a month, a Bop It and a microscope. He was very happy with everything and was very happy with the day in general. He went to sleep very quickly that night too, exhausted after a long day of birthday fun!
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Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving all!
I just wanted to take a moment to mention some of the things I'm thankful for...
My wonderful hubby, who works hard so I can stay home with our kiddos! He is also the most thoughtful, sensitive caring partner I could ask for and the kids could dream of!
My amazing kids! They give me SO much happiness every single day I'm with them, and I feel incredibly blessed to spend my days with the two most awesome people in the world!
My family, especially my parents who have and will do anything for us (to watching the kids at a moments notice to giving me a ride when I lock myself out of the car to cutting a million paper strips for me when I was sick and had a crafty playdate coming!). They really are the best! My siblings for being hip and cool and just fun to talk to and hang out with. And, of course for being awesome Aunts & uncles for my kids!
My friends especially my best friend who I've known since 7th grade! I know not everyone is fortunate enough to live within 15 minutes of their best friend, and I'm incredibly grateful for that; being able to hang out whenever we want and raise our kids together is so special to me!
Being in good health and that my family is in good health.
Having a gorgeous house in the best neighborhood ever with some pretty cool neighbors!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We had such an amazing time on our trip to California!! And, after 10 days of traveling (including 42 hours just in the car!) we made it back home.
Our trip started the morning of October 16th. The kiddos had already been told of the upcoming trip, but didn't really have many expectations. So, along with my parents and little sister, we all piled in our car and headed off. After almost nine hours, we made our first destination; Sacramento, where we were staying the night. The next morning it was onto our final destination; Anaheim!
We arrived at our resort and were pleasantly surprised by how gorgeous it was (I've mentioned before that we are Worldmark owners)! They told us at the front desk the fireworks would be starting soon, and we could watch them from the roof deck or from our room. Sweet!
And, sure enough, once the fireworks started, we had a perfect view from our room. It was amazing and the kids were in total awe!
The next day was our first Disneyland day, and we headed over with my brother and his girlfriend, who live in the area. Zavion had gotten all worked up about going and was clearly very excited. Once he stepped through the gates, you could just see the wonder in his eyes! After a trip to City Hall for 'First Time Visitor' buttons for the kids, we headed off the Fantasy Land to start riding! Not only was Z having a great time, but Avalee was also having a blast. We did lots of fun rides, including Avalee's favorite, the teacups (“Spin faster! Faster!!”) and Z's favorite, Alice in Wonderland.
After a long, and very exciting day, we headed to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (YUMM!) then back to our resort for some rest.
The next day was Zavion;s fifth birthday! Although he didn't know it, we had a very fun morning planned; we were going to breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen! Unfortunately, Z was a little grumpy (he's like his mama and SO not a morning person) when we arrived but all it took was a visit from Goofy himself to turn Z around. He was so amazed with Goofy and the following parade of characters (including Pluto, Baloo, Chip & Dale, Belle & Alice) and even the yummy food (Mickey shaped waffles!). And, the cherry on the cake was when they came out to sing 'Happy Birthday' to him. He was so excited to be presented with his own cake (in a little treasure chest) and be the center of attention. Haha!
After breakfast we headed into Disneyland for some more fun. However, we were greeted by some terrible weather including torrential rain (bad enough to make even these native Oregonians take cover), thunder and lightening. Ick! So, after a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, we headed over to California Adventure to get in some indoor rides. We still managed to have a great (if not soggy!) time and headed back to our resort that evening for Z's favorite dinner (pizza soup), more cake and, of course, presents! We were even treated to another showing of fireworks, even tough they don't normally show during the week. Zavion definitely had a wonderful birthday, and of course we still had the rest of the week left on our trip!
The next day took us to Seaworld, where the kids had a blast watching dolphins and whales jump high in the air, petting manta rays and even riding some more rides. And, Zavion's highlight? He got to feed the dolphins with Grandma. Seeing the look on his face when they told him he could pet the dolphin was great!
Day four was a trip to Universal Studios, and we were happy to be joined by Uncle and Aunt Lindsey this time (since they just live a couple blocks away!). For me, Universal is a blast; it's definitely always been one of my favorite theme parks. I wasn't sure how well the kids would enjoy it, since there aren;t as many rides (or flying dolphons!) to keep their attention. But, Avalee was instantly smitten when Curious George came up to her and tried 'stealing' her banana. And, Zavion loved the Shrek 3D 'ride.' Of course we enjoyed lots more during our visit there, including my favorite, the studio tour. It was a fun day and afterward we got to go have a delicious dinner at John and Lindsey's apartment (prepared by Lindsey). The kids were SO excited to be spending time at Uncle and Lindsey's, since they had only hung out with them at our house before. In fact, we had to remind them that Uncle and Aunt Lindsey had neighbors much closer than us (apartment? What's an apartment?), so we needed to not be quite so loud. ;o)
Than it was our last day in Disneyland. We were hoping for better luck with the weather than we had the last time. We even let Zavion wear his 'It's my birthday' button since he didn't get a chance on his actual birthday, and was very happy to get lots of birthday greetings from the cast members in Disneyland. We took a more relaxed approach to our last day, and even got to ride a couple rides for the second time. And, we capped off the evening by watching the parade. During the parade characters and cast members kept coming over to wish Z a 'Happy Birthday' (yay for the button), and Z even got to join the conga line and dance with one of the cast members. Seeing the joy and utter amazement on my kids' faces was one of those memories I will carry with me forever. That was my magical Disneyland moment. :)
It was a long and full day, but the kiddos were very happy when the day was over. And, Grandma was even nice enough to take the kids back to the resort while Colin and I stayed and hung out just the two of us. It was a nice break, and for a couple hours even felt like we were on vacation, just the two of us. Haha! We decided to head back a little early and hit the hot tub for a little while, which was very welcome after a long day of walking.
On our last day, we headed back to San Diego, this time for the Wild Animal Park. We hard heard some good things about this place, so were pretty excited to have the day there. Both of the kids have always been really into animals, so they were enjoying themselves from the moment we got into the park. Some of the highlights included the walk-though bird sanctuary, where Z was got to feed the birds and a sing-a-long where the kids got to dress as butterflies, than go on a 'parade' through the park, and finally release ladybugs at the end. And, of course along the way we got up close with elephants, lions and Zavion's favorite, the Condors.
The next morning, we bid a bittersweet farewell to Anaheim, but still had a little more fun planned on the way home. We headed to San Fransisco, and after checking into our hotel that evening went over to Fishermen's Wharf to have dinner at Rainforest Cafe. The kids had so much fun there! Afterward, we took a stroll over to Pier 39 where the kids checked out the sea lions and we got some great night-time views of Alcatraz. The next morning, we decided to go back to Fishermen's Wharf, since everything had been closed the night before. We made a stop by the Bourdin bread factory so I could pick up some of my favorite sourdough (yumm!) then back to Pier 39. Zavion had a couple dollars of his money left (he had a couple lemonade stands during the Summer and had saved his money) just burning a whole in his pocket, and decided he wanted to take a spin on the carousel. He was generous enough to even offer up some of his hard-earned money, so his little sister could ride with him...aww!
After leaving the pier, we hit the road to home. We had a pretty easy trip back home, and although we arrived a little later than expected, we did so with some very happy memories!

We're going to Disneyland!

Mickey Mouse fireworks (seen from our room) over Disneyland!

Just before heading into Disneyland

First time visitor!

Grandma & Miss Avalee on the Dumbo ride

The whole group of us

Meeting Mickey was quite the thrill!

Meeting Goofy

Happy Birthday, Mr. Zavion!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Well, we arrived back from our vacation just six days before Halloween (and five days before Z's birthday party), and needed to get into the Halloween spirit quick. So, we headed off to the Pumpkin patch a couple days later.
We've been going to the same Pumpkin patch, Baumans Farms, since before Colin and I were even together. We just love it and we try to make it an even every year (it helps that we pick up some of their famous cider donuts and apple cider too...I don;t even like cider and donuts, but I'll take this stuff any day!). Over the years, word has gotten out about this particular farm, and it's gotten quite popular. So, we were quite surprised to find that there was almost noone there on the day we went! Of course, it was only a few days before Halloween too. We were also surprised to fine the pumpkin patch almost completely under water! Apparently a big storm had come through the area (while we were on vacation) and really wreaked some havoc on the poor pumpkin patch. That combined with the fact that everyone else had already picked out their pumpkin, meant pretty slim pickings for us. But, we were only getting a couple of pumpkins this year (as opposed to the several, 30lbs worth, we got last year!), so let each of the kids pick one out. Then it was onto the shop to get our goodies and back home to start carving!
Then, before we knew it Halloween was here! Z was very excited for his costume and trick-or-treating. He came up with his own costume this year; Vampire rock star. He's such a creative person and I was very proud of him for thinking 'outside the box.' Plus, we were able to use most of what we already had, so that saved some money on buying a costume...hahaha! Miss Avalee was a mermaid; I found her costume online for only $3.99 and just could not pass it up!
So, Grandma came over a little early to help us get the kiddos ready. As I was giving Z a vampire 'look' Avalee decided she wanted makeup too, so Grandma added some pretty purple to her eyes and some pink to her cheeks. She was so excited she ran to look at herself in the mirror right away.
The kids were also lucky to be joined by their cousin, Aly (who is only four months older than Z) this year for trick-or-treating.
After taking a million pictures of all the kids, we told them it was time to go, and boy were they ready to hit those houses...lol! Zavion has always been pretty low-key about trick-or-treating, and doesn't really go to many house before announcing he's “done.” But, Aly was go, go, go! She definitely had a different approach to the whole thing! And, Avalee was just happy to get to be with the 'big kids.' Last year, she was still too young to actually trick-or-treat, but we took her with us and just carried her (of course, she was in costume!). So, it was pretty cute watching her tag behind her big brother and cousin. And, some of the houses in our area have lots of steep stairs just to get to the front door, so she still had to be carried up a few of those. But, otherwise she did great even remembering her 'please' and 'thank you' most of the time.
And, true to form, Zavion pooped out on about the second street, so we finished up and headed up. The kids still had a ton of candy though, so it was a successful night!

Avalee was saying, "Daddy, get back here, NOW!" Lol!

Z found one!

My vampire rockstar!

Pretty girl

Z vamping it up...lol!

Avalee would only pose if I help her hand. Silly girl!

Look how excited she is!

Back in a few...

So, I am way behind on my blogging lately... there's Disneyland, Zavion's birthday and Halloween! I'm working on them right now (promise!), but it's taking longer than anticipated because since we got back we've had birthday parties, Halloween, playdates, football games...
And, because of this...

Yup, we all came down with the icky sickies. :0( We've been battling our colds for a week now, which, along with a funeral, playdates, planning two parties and more has made for an interesting week (and, as you can see from the above photo, lots of extra snuggle time).
So, keep an eye out this week, because I hope to get back into it and blog about all the fun stuff we've been up to!
See you soon! :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Week Of Zavion (better late than never!):The Arrival

I know, I know...I promised a whole week of blogs dedicated to Zavion like two weeks ago. Well, as it turns out, I didn't have as much time on my hands during our vacation as I thought. I know, crazy, right? I also thought I might be able to blog during the drive, but a certain little girl we all know decided to go on nap strike during the road trip.
Then, I thought I could do some blogging after we got back, but had to get right into getting Z's party finished. I guess I need to work on time management a little.
Sooo, here it is. A little later than promised, yes, but still just as good.

At about 11:30 PM on October 18th, I started to feel my first real contractions. Some would say (and by some, I most mean Colin) labor was brought on by me doing a little construction work. I know you're just dying to know what construction work I would be doing just days away from my due date, so I'll take a little side trip for you. So, our bonus room was being finished for our office (which had previously been in the new nursery) and I decided I needed to get rid of the ugly gold threshold outside the door (since the room was unfinished when we bought it, it was considered 'outside' which is why there was a threshold there). Anyway, I grabbed the crowbar and hammer and got to work! I remember feeling awesome and not at all like I was hours from going into labor, so Colin could be onto something there, but I guess we'll never know. ;o)
So, back to those contractions... They were still pretty far apart, so I decided to take a nice long shower (I wanted to make sure I was smelling good for the doctors and nurses, after all!). After my shower, Colin suggested we try to get some sleep and told me to wake him up when the contractions were about 10 minutes apart, so he could start getting everything ready. Of course, he fell asleep right away but tried as I might, I just couldn't sleep. It was the excitement, and the contractions too, of course (plus, I had to use the potty with every contraction!)! I wasn't really timing the contractions, because it seemed they started so far apart, but then I began to realize they were much closer than before! I started timing and realized they were coming about five to sic minutes apart...oops! I woke up Colin and he was a little freaked out that I waited so long to tell him, but then immediately went into Super-Hubby mode, and got us out the door in no time. As we headed out though, he told me we needed to stop to get gas. What?? Who doesn't have a full tank of gas just days away from the delivery date of their first child?? Well, that would be Colin. So, after a quick trip through the gas station (which I had to videotape because of the absurdity of it all!), we were headed to the hospital.
Once we got there, we had to get checked in (the procrastinators that we both are never pre-registered). At this point, the contractions were on top of each other, and I thought we might even have a baby soon. The person who checked us in kept looking at me funny, than finally asked, “Are you even in active labor now?” I was like, “Uh, yea” and she said she wasn't sure because I looked so calm and didn't look like I was in any pain. Haha! I guess my high threshold for pain and poker face really came into play there.
After checking in, it was off to triage to be evaluated. The nurse checked my contractions, and was a little startled that they were only about two minutes apart. She then checked me and was even more surprised that I was only 1 1/2cm dilated. At that point it was about 6AM, and I had been in labor about six and a half hours. The nurse got me hooked up, so she could monitor my contractions then left the room. After awhile she came back in, and seemed very concerned. She asked if I was okay, like something had happened. Well, obviously I was in labor so not entirely “ok” but it didn't seem like anything unusual. She then showed us a readout of the contractions I had been having and about every third contraction was, as she put it, “off the chart.” She seemed convinced that I would much more dilated now, so checked again but there was no change. She left the room to consult with someone, and we assumed we would be sent home. But, when she came back, she said they had a room ready and would be moving me soon.
We were officially checked in at about 8AM. The nurses asked about pain management, and I told them I wasn't opposed to an epidural (had been about nine hours in labor, at that point)! We agreed that the epidural would be ordered, but they wouldn't rush it. However, about a half hour later the anesthesiologist came in to administer it. He was getting ready to do a c-section, and if he didn't get the epidural to me then I would have to wait a couple more hours!
Meanwhile, Colin was calling all of our family and friends and within a half hour our room was full. We had all four of our parents, my brother and sister, grandma and my best friend. It was definitely a nice distraction having everyone there to hang out with (we even put in a movie)! After hours of not much progress though, I was definitely starting to get impatient.
Once my doctor arrived, she started me on pitocin and seemed confident that might get things moving faster. She casually mentioned a c-section as a possibility, but indicated she didn't think it would come to that. After another couple hours though, I still hadn't progressed. My blood pressure kept dropping and then the baby's heart rate dropped a little. It had been almost 20 hours in labor at that point, when my doctor brought in the head of surgery. She checked me and said I was even less dilated then the nurses had thought and ordered an emergency c-section. She and my doctor were both very calm, but not me! I was frustrated, disappointed and just utterly exhausted. My doctor assured me everything would be fine and that the c-section was so fast that we would be meeting our baby in no time. Our family came in so we could tell them what was happening, then I had to say goodbye to Colin who couldn't come in while they were prepping me for surgery.
Besides being nervous, emotional and anxious to meet our little guy I was also extremely loopy from the medicine they game me. I kept telling Colin he was not to let me fall asleep because I was not going to miss my little Zavion being born. So, he had to keep patting my face to keep me awake during the surgery. It seemed like both an eternity and then not, all at the same time! My doctor and the surgeon were narrating what was going on, then suddenly they stopped talking. Then the next thing we heard was Zavion crying and they held up this tiny, squirmy beautiful baby boy! Colin and I were so overwhelmed with happiness and we just kept saying we couldn't believe he was finally here! They brought him over and handed him to Colin and I got to stroke his tiny face with my finger and give him long awaited kiss.
Then, they whisked he and Colin off to the recovery room, where I would join them after they finished the surgery. It felt like an eternity waiting to go be with them and I remember I kept looking behind me at the clock to see how long it was taking. The anesthesiologist kept asking me if I was okay!
After what seemed like forever, they told me I was done and wheeled me into recovery. I looked all around and didn't see Colin or Zavion anywhere and actually started to panic a little. Then, they opened up the curtain and there sat Colin holding Z. It was one of those images that will stay with me forever, and I still get emotional just remembering.
The next few days were a whirlwind of learning, attempting to sleep, lots of crying (mostly the baby) lots of visitors and some really special moments with just the three of us.
Later, my doctor told me the reason for the c-section; Zavion was in a breech position, face up, and his chin was actually hooked over my pubic bone. She told me with the way that he was positioned, there was no way he would have progressed down the birth canal.
I am definitely thankful for modern medicine and after I saw Zavion, I quickly let go of any disappointment I with not having a 'regular' birth experience.
So, that's the story of our our little guy made his entrance into the world. He made the delivery interesting for sure, and has been making our lives just as exciting ever since!

So, it turns out all of the baby photos of Z are stuck on some CDs that can't be opened on my computer. So, here is one of my favorite baby pics of Z, and hopefully I can add more later. :)
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