December 23

Christmas No. 3

[All of Nate's extended family on his Dad's side]

We met for dinner over at Scott and Christie's house, which has a fabulous space for family gatherings. We hung out for awhile and chatted, ate dinner, and then moved into the living room to hear the Christmas story and open presents. It was a nice evening - we enjoyed ourselves!

Below are pictures of the dining room/kitchen, another fancy self-portrait, Rick and Karen enjoying their dinner, Richard squashed between Rick and Grandma Jo, Aidan hiding in the pantry, Jeff, Tara, and Dawson listening to Linda share the Christmas story, and, finally, Aidan adding his two-cents to how the story was being acted out.

We found out that night that two of Linda and Rudy's girls, Tara and Mendi, are both expecting - so if you guys ever check this, congratulations! We're excited for you!


Gettin' it done.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before...

Nate moved his office from the loft to the guest bedroom, which forced the guest bedroom into my office. My once-office now has three purposes: MK storage, guest bedroom, general office.

The transition was ridiculous. Nate made quick work of painting the guest bedroom, though! He picked a nice, neutral color - he has an eye for colors, I must say! So here are a few pictures from when Jeff and Necia Davis were over. They were roped into helping us move some furniture upstairs: Nate's desk and one of our dinning room tables, both ridiculously heavy items.

In case you were wondering, the loft is now what I call a general work space. The table fits nicely and it provides a wonderful area to sit and edit or scrapbook or pay bills...whatever. I keep the table cleared off so that whoever wants to use the space can do so without shuffling a bunch of stuff around. It's nice!

This is a picture of the chaos that is our hallway. When Nate moved the stuff from the guest room into the hallway to make space for his loft stuff to go into the old guest room, it all left a trail. It's improved slightly over the last week or so (as I've crammed some of it into random closets), but it's still pretty ugly. The staircase and upstairs hallway are the last to be painted...I can hardly wait!!!


December 22

Christmas No. 2:

Mom & Dad/Sister, Bro-in-Law, & Their Kids/Us

[Christmas No. 1 was at Granny Ruth's on December 14th]

We met up at Mom and Dad's for brunch in the morning - Dad always makes the tastiest breakfasts. I love his "pastries"...One year I asked him how he made them and, I have to say, they're so simple to make I was a little disappointed! But when I tried to make them, they did NOT turn out nearly as good as Dad's!

So we sat down to eat around 11am, or so. We wrapped up the meal with Dad reading the Christmas story from the inn keeper's perspective - the story was a whole lot more interesting with two little girls who were all ears as he read. When Rae Ann and I were little, we'd get together with our cousins to "perform" the story for our parents, but listening along with Stella and Ivy, the story became brand new!

Following breakfast, we opened presents. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from present time:

After presents we sat around for awhile before putting the girlies down for their naps and then eating even more food. Nate and I gave Dad some sudoku books in his stocking (mostly to torture him), so I began playing some of the games while Nate, Tom, and Dad played Halo 3. The afternoon meal was HUGE. All I contributed was a green salad, so when I walked into the dining room and saw Mom and Rae Ann's spread, I was little shocked! But it was all so tasty!

The next set of pictures are just a few that I snapped that make me think happy thoughts:

Okay, so that's the Breckenridge Christmas. It was really nice to spend some time with family! Tis the season, eh?


Never had this happen before.

So tonight I was making corn pudding for the Banks' family Christmas over at Scott and Christie's house. Corn pudding is baked in the oven with it's dish sitting in a pan of water.

When I cracked open the oven to check on it's progress, I was met by a hot, humid heat wave. I closed my eyes tightly against the heat, but when I went to open them again, I couldn't! I began thinking to myself, "I'm blind!" I put all my energy into opening my eyes...

Finally I got them open, but my lids were so heavy and everything felt really weird. It felt as though I was wearing fake eyelashes, as though I was in another ballet recital. I started yelling at Nate, "There's something wrong with my face!"

I touched my eyelashes and they felt really strange. And then I realized.

When I had opened the oven, the steam hit my eyes and melted my mascara. When I closed my eyes, it all melted together and started to cool again, which made it difficult to open my eyes back up. When I checked the mirror, I saw my eyelashes pointing straight up and clumped together.

Nate just sat on the couch and laughed.



Today has been a great day.

I started work at 4:15 this morning at Starbucks, and everyone and their mother came by for coffee. It was chaos. I was jogging back and forth from one end of the counter to the bar, taking drink orders, writing cups, and prepping drinks for Erin (assistant manager), who was working the milk side of the bar. At one point I realized I had pulled the wrong shots for a drink, so in my haste to make a quick cup switch, I dropped the mocha. The cup hit the counter and shot the mocha syrup and milk all over the top half of me, and then it hit the floor upside down and splashed the bottom half of me. All I could do was stand there, dripping.

It was lovely! I had mocha from my nose to my toes...literally. My work clothes are going through the wash right now.

After my shift was over, Nate met me at Starbucks and we followed each other to the Nordstrom's side of the mall to meet Grandma and Grandpa Mac for lunch...they were taking us out for my 25th b-day. Since I was at the mall, I thought I'd finish up a few odd errands I had been wanting to get done before Christmas (which, technically, begins for us on Saturday, Dec. 22, and doesn't end until the 26th, I think - I know I've lost my mind). The drive home was r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s. I hate the mall. More than that, I hate the traffic.

So this is a picture of what I encountered on the home stretch. I was on my way from the freeway up Hwy. 212 toward our neighborhood, and this is where I sat for what felt like forever. Gag. I realize this post has been really lame, so I apologize. I wish I had taken a picture of the mocha madness - that would have cheered everyone up!

I wish you all the merriest of Christmases!


Just stuff.

So here are a few random pictures I took the other day...They're all of things I was wanting to mention on here at some point or another, so why not just make it a totally random blog :) This is Nathaniel's desk decorated for Christmas. I've struggled to find things for his desk that I think really fit, and I've come to realize that it'll just happen naturally over time. I'd love to rush into New Seasons and buy up some cute kiddie things for his desk, but, so far, I've resisted that urge. :) Ever since we moved into this house, I've really wanted to make it a home in the sense of comfort for everyone who walks through our door. My attention has been focused in the family room more than anywhere else. So, my name is Robin, like a bird. When I was in California in May 2005, we found out we were going to be able to move in here. I immediately starting thinking about how to make it comfortable and "nesty"...I found some eggs at an antique store in Visalia, CA, so I brought those home and framed a card of robins with their nest and put it all together in a little collection by my front door. Since then, the idea of birds (especially robins) and their nests has become trendy...and I kinda want to buy a bunch of the stuff I've seen up...Anyway, the point of saying all that is that it's a decorative idea I'm playing with for Nathaniel's desk. When we found out we were pregnant, I was hit pretty hard with the idea of creating a comfy nest for my kids.

This is our harvest decor! I did the same thing last year...I like the look of it! Of course, I didn't even get this up until Halloween night. I was way late in my decorating. I took it down probably two days after decorating for Christmas, too. It really wasn't up that long. But the neighborhood kids kicked me into gear to take it down. I had a huge, gorgeous pumpkin (can you see it in the picture?) and they stole it and smashed it on the sidewalk in front of my neighbor's house, three doors down. Fantastic. The kids in the neighborhood are becoming much bolder; my neighbor had about 50 DVDs stolen out of the glove compartment of her car, and we both think it's the kids around here. It's too bad, really. It's crazy how much the area has changed since we've moved in.

Here's my car! She's working well right now, which I'm happy about. I'll be sad to let her go when it comes time to sell her. Nate is working on selling his red Toyota 4x4 pickup. His brother Ricky was using it before he left for South Korea, so since August it's been sitting in Nate's parents' drive way. He finally got it home and is actively working on selling it. He still has his Toyota Tundra, so he's not truckless.

This is our family room decorated for Christmas! It's lovely and peaceful...Even Frankie (the cat in front of the fire) thinks so. I can't wait to post pictures of the work Nate's been doing around here. The family room looks nothing like this anymore. It's a little ridiculous! Although, I do like the new color...


As I Promised

Tree #1, 2006 era:
Now this tree was a true beauty! Many friends considered her sparse, but what do they know. :) Because of all the space between her branches, I could hang all my ornaments comfortably, knowing that each and every one of them was easily viewable. She had flare! I think she was 8.5 feet tall or so.

Tree #2, 2007 ear:
I couldn't use a picture that I took of the tree without a flash because you couldn't see the ornaments very well. Oh, well I guess you can't see them anyway, really, because there aren't very many of them. The tree is too full for many of my bigger ornaments. I don't like trees where you have to just lay the ornaments on the tree because it's too full for them to hang. This tree is right around 7/7.5 feet tall and she cost six times as much as last year's tree. Hmm.


Another Tree Cutting Adventure

If you know me at all, you know how much I love Christmas, but especially Christmas trees! And you probably know how far in advance I tend to plan on cutting the next one down - 364 days.

For all of the Christmases I can actually remember, my parents, Rae Ann, and I would chop our tree down under the power lines up on Mt. Hood. As Rae Ann and I have married, we've included our husbands (and her kids) in the tradition. But this year was a bit of a bust.

We made it up to the ranger station to buy our permits ($5!!!) and the promise of snow became a reality...it was beautiful! We headed up one of the logging roads to find our trees, but first we stopped and dropped off Tom and Rae Ann's Element so they and the girls could climb into Dad and Mom's truck with Nate and I.

I really wish I'd taken a picture of what came next. This is the first year (that I remember) where we weren't able to make it up the mountain. Like six cars had become stuck, all right together in a little pile-up, so we couldn't go high enough to cut trees. The permits for tree cutting have tree height and elevation limitations, so you need to drive up pretty high before you start chopping anything down.

So, we turned around and headed back to the Element. We had a grand snow ball fight, which included nearly everyone (little Ivy being the exception...for the most part! I nailed her bum once or twice). Check out Rae Ann's blog for some of her funny family details :)

We parted ways with Rae Ann and Tom (her blog explains why) and so Nate and I set out with Mom and Dad to find a tree farm. It made me sad! I got confused by all the sameness! This years Christmas tree, I regret to say, is quite cookie cutter. But that's okay. It's still pretty...It's just not the same! I'm going to post a picture of last year's tree in contrast with this years, just so you can see the differences for yourself!



I have my car back!!

Mom drove me out to Vol-tech to pick it up yesterday. Actually, I kind of tricked her into it (love you, Mom!). I called and told her I had two questions. She asked what the first was and that's when I asked if she could drive me out to get my car. She said sure, so I never asked the second question...(which was if she'd be willing to just run me down the street to the grocery store instead of to the mechanic's.)

She picked me up and we headed out. It felt like two hours passed before we finally made it to the mechanic's. Traffic was H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E, horrible. I heard on the radio that it was quickly being considered the worst we've seen on I-205 in years. I skated through the front door just before Nate got home from work.

So, the car is working well. I'm still on pins and needles waiting for it to die again, all the while praying that what we fixed in it did, in fact, fix the car. We really don't want to have to sell it quite yet.

I went to the dr's again today. Things are continuing to improve since Nathaniel's birth! It still amazes me how much changed in my body from that experience, short-lived as the pregnancy was. I'm glad to feel so normal (if you can call it that) these days! If only I could just dump my own private pill collection...These antibiotics are going to mean the end of me, I swear.

I want to shout from the rooftops, though, praise God for a healed body!

P.S. Lorrie, I'd love a copy of the book you found! I'm taking my time going through just such literature right now, and I'm getting a lot from the book you guys gave us in the hospital. It's been helpful. What's the best way to get the book from you? Also, thank you for thinking of us! I appreciate your thoughtfulness so much!


Hold me back.

Christmas is just around the corner so today I'm decorating!!! Nothing can stop me now! Except for a little three-year-old's birthday party this afternoon.

I took a few pictures Thanksgiving Day, but I'll have to include them in my next post. We arrived at Rick and Karen's around 12:30pm...and no one else was there. People trickled in over the next hour and half, so we ate around 2 or 2:30pm. It was nice to sit and visit with Nate's side of the family, most of whom I haven't seen since before Nathaniel's funeral.

At 5pm we managed to get in the car and drive down the hill to Mom and Dad's where we spent time with them and Grandma and Grandpa Mac. Mom and I split the cooking for that meal, which was fun! Her half turkey took a lot longer to cook than she was expecting, though, which was perfect for Nate and I. We were still getting over our late lunch, so the idea of sitting down to a second full dinner was a bit intimidating. As the turkey kept on cooking, we relaxed and flipped through the plethora of ads in The Oregonian. Finally we ate and it was fabulous! We ended the evening with Halo. Perfect.

Yesterday Nate went back to work, as did I. I left the house around 2:30pm to run to the store and my car completely shut down on the way. If you're familiar with our area, I was leaving my house, heading toward Mom and Dad's. I had just turned onto 172nd from Armstrong Circle when my Christmas music turned off and all my panel lights flickered on. The car died and I was stuck in the middle of the road. I thought about steering off the road, but the drop from the pavement to the field was about six inches and I knew that would mean trouble later. I flipped the hazard lights on and jumped out of the car. I stood in the field and began worrying about rush hour traffic and how angry Portlanders can become if their way is impeded. I sprinted up the drive-way of a house nearby and borrowed a phone book from them. The mom who lived there and her daughters were piecing together furniture...I can only assume that they actually made it to the Black Friday sales.

Don from Integrity Towing (wonderful man!) showed up 30 minutes later and towed me and my poor car to Vol-tech off of Portland Avenue, just down the block from Rae Ann's house. But we realized we couldn't leave it there. I had locked the keys in the car with the hazard lights running, so it was a clear sign to unscrupulous folks that the car was a sitting duck.

We decided to drive the car to Rae Ann and Tom's, put cloth and tape over the blinking lights, and leave it there until Monday. Yuck.

SO! On Monday Nate gets to take me back to Rae Ann's house and meet up with Don to take it back to Vol-tech to be fixed. I know, I know. It was unbelievably stupid of me to lock our ONE Volvo key in the car (we are buying like 8 more keys as soon as possible). But what's done is done. So now we wait for Monday!

That is pretty much the excitement in our life right now. I'll tell you, though, that I'm feeling a thousand times better than I have over the last eight weeks. Things are looking up!


Still alive...in case you were wondering :)

Nate is busy as all get out with his work (thank God!), so he's been distracted lately :) This week I've been focusing on balancing editing with jury duty. I checked in at the courthouse in Oregon City this morning, but they sent me home a couple hours later - apparently their whole trial schedule has been thrown off by Veteran's day! I don't mind too much, although I would like to sit in on a trial just to see what it's like.

It's been nice finding our pace again, honestly. We're focusing on living and working and being together. God's still at work in us, to say the least. I've been really struggling with out of control emotions, but I'll take those any day over the horrible nightmares I had just after Nathaniel's burial! Honestly, I just really look forward to being "even" again. I'm sure Nate would enjoy it, too :) He's so patient!

It would be wonderful to honestly say that everything is perfect, but I can't lie very well! If you're looking for a way to pray for us (if I may make a request), pray for God's timing. It feels like we're waiting on so many different things right now, so peace and discernment and confidence are necessary for us.

I wish I had some awesome pictures to post, but, alas, I've been such a homebody lately that I haven't needed to use the camera! Ah well.


Another weekend getaway

I so should NOT be taking the time to post this right now! Too much to do. But I want to post these pictures because they're, well, lighthearted. We took off for another weekend in Rockaway Beach, ending in Cannon. We've had this trip planned since June, so it's been something we've looked forward to since before Nathaniel even existed, to tell the truth! We knew it would be a special getaway; turns out it was incredibly timely! It rained a little, fogged much, but was so perfectly beachy. Ahh, glorious!


To Whomever it May Concern:

A special thanks goes out to whoever it was that dropped by that gorgeous bouquet of flowers and the bread! It was such a pleasant surprise to find them waiting for us on the doorstep! Both Nate and I really appreciate your thoughtfulness! Thank you!


Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Did you know that October was deemed Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month by President Reagan in 1988? I had no idea. I first heard that last night at the baby memorial we attended at Portland Adventist. October 15th at 7pm is the time to remember lost babies all across the country.

Nate and I were a little nervous (me more so than him) at entering a room full of strangers with whom we would shortly be sharing our loss. It wasn't a therapy session, but rather just a reminder of our baby. A harpist played several pieces of music, an incredible soloist performed a song, each baby's name was called out and a leaf placed on a tree in their memory, and a doctor who experienced his own loss prayed. The service was perfectly timed, not too lengthy, not too short. We spent some time afterward connecting with couples who had lost little ones for various reason.

I'd never really thought about all the different reasons a baby could die. It was a bit shocking to hear some of the different stories, especially from couples who had no answers. It made me grateful that we know why Nathaniel died.

The only picture I have from last night was one I took with my phone as we left our neighborhood for the hospital. The weather the last few days has been incredible! I'm loving it!

We left the memorial last night with several things in hand: a baby gift from the hospital, the leaf with Nathaniel's name on it, a white rose with a pendant in the shape of tiny feet, and fudge (Laurie, it was probably some of the smoothest fudge I've ever had! Amazing!).

I had a couple more pictures I wanted to attach to this post, but blogger is being stubborn! I'll post them as soon as I can.

Thanks for visiting!