Happy Birthday - YOU'RE ONE!

Hazel's big day was November 22, so at this point she's already 13 months. I'm terrible.

She started the morning by enjoying nursery time with her little friends at church. The ladies who work in the nursery love her (I'm not even kidding - they tell me how much every Sunday), and whenever I check on her during the service she's happily shaking the baby gate or taking toys from little boys.

The catch here is that we celebrated her birthday on Saturday, November 21st, because Mom and Dad took Nate and I to Trans Siberian Orchestra on Sunday night. I was so bummed to not spend her whole day with her, but Hazel did alright with Nate's parents.

So on Saturday, Day 1 of her birthday celebration, Nate and I scrambled to clean everything and prep food. I spent about three hours just dipping pretzels in chocolate. They were so good, but I really didn't budget that much time! The pictures I've posted here are from Mom and Dad's computer, so when I have access to mine at home, I'll add a few. I mostly have pictures of the spread before guests showed up.

The party started at 3pm, but folks started showing up around 2:30. We had several helping hands as we put finishing touches on things, so I slipped away to get Hazel up from her nap and dressed for her party.

The kid did awesome! She never acted overwhelmed by the amount of people in the house or the incredible, constant, hands-on attention she received all night. We all mingled for awhile until someone alerted me that Hazel was very ready to rip into presents.

She helped me for awhile, but then she became totally focused on some curled ribbon. I began to open all her presents for her and just hand them to her as I opened them. She was thrilled with each one. As a guest in our house, you might not have seen the "thrilled" aspect, but she was. When she devotes total attention to something, she's quite taken with it. The hollering comes when she finally feel she understands what she's holding.

People were so generous. She received many toys and dolls and books, most of which she visits several times a day in the family room. She has full on conversations with her dolls; she stacks, knocks over, and restacks her blocks; and she talks to the pictures of little boys and girls and baby animals in her books. We were blessed in a huge way by the attendance of so many friends and family.

After presents, Hazel got a chance to dive into her cake. She was interested in it, but not sure what to do with it. Finally she found her groove and started delicately shoving handfuls of chocolate cake into her mouth. Her legs were going crazy (whenever she eats a meal, she kicks the entire time, I think in anticipation of the next bite).

We had such a fun evening! The girl did amazing. She finally showed Nate she was pooped around 7:30, so he slipped away with her to put her to bed while I chatted with the few remaining guests. It was an excellent way to end the day!

Nate and I hosted Thanksgiving for both our families a week later, so I'll post about that next...and then Tree Killin'...and then Christmas.


Hazel's Last Few Months in Pictures.


Hazel spent a Friday with Mom while I worked. I got a frantic call in the afternoon from Mom, telling me that Hazel had been stung on the head by a yellow jacket. We weren't sure if she was allergic or not, so I called the pediatrician as I raced over. They told me what to look for and wished me luck. Hazel was just fine. Mom, on the other hand, was freaking out. She covered what she thought was the bite with a mixture of water and baking soda, so Hazel looked a little freakish when I got to the house. We decided to rinse out the baking soda so that we could see whether or not she'd actually been bitten. She was fine - completely unfazed and unharmed! But the best part of her day was this fancy hairdo, compliments of the baking soda...

This was the best family picture we got in Magone, and it's too bad it's from my phone (all these pictures in this post are off of my phone - I'm very sorry).

And here is Hazel gnawing on our coffee table in the family room! Still no teeth, so I wasn't at all worried about damage. Hah!


Hazel is becoming a big girl! This was one of the first times I let her sit alone, without hovering too much anyway. She was enthralled with this rocking chair, and even more thrilled by her own ability to rock it...

There are quite a few "eating" pictures on this post - just enjoy them. They're good for a chuckle.

I call this one, "I Love My Hat!" My friend Linsea made it and it's the only hat without a chin strap that Hazel will keep on. Sometimes I catch her in her carseat with it half off, but that's to be expected - she has a hard time not playing with it.

I snapped this one as we were getting ready to leave the house. I don't remember where we were heading, but I think it's a cute picture.

CHEESE! The kid loves cheddar.

Making espresso with Dad.

Eating steamed apples. They went absolutely everywhere.


I can't resist her baby behind! I was lucky with this picture, though - the first time I set her down to watch the tub fill up, she peed where she was standing. But not this time! Whew.

I took this picture after we spent some time at the pediatrician's office. Bronchiolitis. Poor kid! Her cough has been awful! She's such a trooper, though. She's really only been fazed by it once, but that was because it was exacerbated by an ear infection.


Tree Killing! We climbed a steep hill. And then crawled back to the car with nothing to show for it. I'm going to get a few better pictures from Mom and Dad and do a separate post on this tragic event, so I'll leave it here for now. I'll tell you this, though: Nate was not involved this year; Hazel nearly lost an eye...twice; I thought I was going to die; my lips lost feeling.

Hazel can ask for anything and I'll give it to her if she's just wearing this outfit at the time. I can't resist her in it.
*Oh, and do you like all the kleenex in the fireplace? Yeah, Nate and I have been sick, so we toss our used tissues in there. It's quite the build-up at this point. I don't plan on having any company over any time soon, let me just say.*

And this last picture has nothing to do with Hazel! Survivor came to our town to host a casting call for an upcoming season. I wanted to join the line, I itched to join the line, I almost joined the line, but I didn't. Nate had somewhere to be, so I would have been standing in the cold and rain with Hazel two hours past her bedtime. Even though I didn't join the line, I plotted my interview and felt convinced they'd cast me, knowing I'd be the highlight of the game for all of eternity. Ah well. Their loss I'm sure.

So this post clears my mind when it comes to my phone pictures. I've uploaded them all and now they're posted. What a relief! Nate and I are staying at Mom and Dad's for a few days (oil furnace is not working and we're out of wood; our house is sitting at a comfortable 50 degrees - and dropping - as I write this), so I'm utilizing their excellent wireless connection and my free time to get some blogging done! Seriously, it's like a vacation. I'm not distracted here. I'm taking care of Hazel, cooking for my family, and getting some laundry done, with naps tossed in there for good measure (for both Hazel and I).

I'm super delayed in posting about Hazel's birthday, but there's a good reason for that. I personally have six pictures of her party and they're all either blurry or dark, or both. But I discovered a wonderful, enormous variety of pictures from her party on Mom's computer, which elicited a huge, "Wahoo!" when I found them. So I'm going to post those next. I can hardly believe my little one is already 13 months old. Weird. But she's a genius. Have I ever told you that? And she's growing teeth like you can't believe. She waited until the timing was just so, as she does with all major developments in her young life. And she's just shy of walking. It's unbelievable.

So I'm off to finish making my chicken parmigiana. Nate is with some of his extended out-of-town family tonight, enjoying a martini and appetizers. Hazel had a super hard night last night, waking up every hour - she just wasn't used to sleeping in her play-pen all night (tonight will be better) - so I thought it best she go down on time rather than having Rick and Karen babysit her for a couple hours (sleeping at their house and then being woken up to come home). That can be quite disruptive to her poor little tired and sick body.

Nate's missing out. I make really good chicken parmigiana.



May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes 'n gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious,
May your pies take the prize.
May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs!


Halloween 2009

She's pulling herself up to standing! And she's doing it so well! It shocked me the first couple times she did it, I was so surprised. Really, I was looking at her, looked away for a second, looked back, and there she was, standing like she's always been doing it.

She has a lot of interest in her own movement. It's fun to sit back and watch her figure things out on her own. Boy, it's been quick progression between crawling and standing - walking isn't too far off.

Halloween was fun. We decided to be brave and forego traditional trick or treating and instead venture out to Canby for our church's harvest festival. It was so fun! I'm so glad we made the trip. We don't know many people at church (completely our fault, although lately I've been really trying to reach out and connect with folks), but we had a blast. Hazel had her face painted to match her mouse costume...which she hated (the costume, not the face paint).

See? What did I tell you.

We had a fun time! There was a photographer there who took a really fun family photo, but I don't like it at the same time - it toys with my self-image. I don't think I'll be posting it here. But maybe. Perhaps. We'll see. Let's leave it at that.

(And how many times can one say "fun" in a post as short as this one? I dare you to give it a try. Really. Go ahead. I can't be beat.)


Big Move

Tom made the move to Baltimore part way into October, but Rae Ann and Stella and Ivy stayed with Mom and Dad in Portland for a couple more weeks. It was so good to have them close for awhile longer!

Suzi came into town, too, so Mom and Dad had quite the houseful of guests. AND everyone was sick. I still, to this day, have no idea how Hazel managed to avoide, well, everything. I prayed and prayed she'd manage to not catch any bugs, but with pneumonia and bronchitis floating around (along with swine flu, although no one at Mom and Dad's had that as far as I know), I didn't think there was much chance of escape. Praise God, though, she avoided it completely!

The following pictures are from the drop-off at the airport. It was so sad to say goodbye. One of the hardest things, I think, was that Stella and Ivy really didn't understand what was happening. They probably just thought they were going on a trip - "move" meant very little to them. They'd lived in the same house for three years, all of their lives, practically, so "across the country" and "not coming home" mean nothing.

So Rae Ann and the girls were off! October 30th, 2009, and they made the big transition to Maryland.

I'm sad.


A Day At Tutu's House

Mom watched Hazel for a few hours again today, so I could get some editing done. Mom had to take off to run an errand forever away, but needed to have someone sign for a package she was expecting, so here I sit, waiting for the delivery guy! Hazel and I discovered PhotoBooth on her nice new computer, so we played. This video is a result of our efforts.


Found some stuff.

Here is a video from Magone. It's cute, so I'm posting it. Hazel had just woken up from her nap and we were beginning to pack up camp. She's ruffled from her sleep, but oh so cute.

And here are a couple parting shots from Magone Lake:

Here are a few pictures from Nathaniel's birthday. I didn't have them loaded when I wrote his post awhile ago (let's be honest: it's been a month).

I'm currently working on a couple more posts, so those will be up soon! Hallelujah!


Year 2 Anniversary

Oh it sucked. I'll be honest.

Monday, September 28th was bitter bitter bitter. I really thought that this year would actually be an improvement on last year, which wasn't good, but it was also easier than I had expected. This year was so very hard.

I'd been pretty rocky and emotional for about a week leading up to it. I hadn't made the connection between my emotional state and Nathaniel's birth anniversary, though, until September 25th rolled around. Then it hit me - everything clicked into place.

I woke up crying the morning of the 28th and only took occasional breaks from that throughout the day. It was so long and hard. People (who hadn't lost a child, mind you) had told me that having a healthy baby would make our loss of Nathaniel easier to bear. All lies. I cried even harder when I first saw Hazel that morning. She's a solid, daily reminder of what Nathaniel could have been like if he'd been healthy and lived. But then I become confused because if he had lived, Hazel would never have existed.

To top that confusion off, I'd felt a huge emptiness in my relationship with God since Hazel's traumatic birth; such a difference from the closeness that came following Nathaniel's even more traumatic birth. That loneliness threatened to overwhelm me on this last anniversary.

God has gotten my ear since then, though. He's drawing me back, and it's a daily submission on my part, but it's so good to know He's close and He cares. He carried me through that tough day and made October 2nd (the day we buried Nathaniel two years ago) pass by in a blink. He pulled me up out of that overwhelming state and I can praise Him for that.

Last night Nate and I attended the Baby Remembrance ceremony (for Infant Loss and Awareness Day) at Portland Adventist Medical Center. It was good to be back and remember Nathaniel. I love LOVE when they say his name aloud. They call each baby's name and place a leaf on a tree. The tree this year was covered with leaves - it was so sad and sobering.

Remember Lorrie Leno? She was the grief nurse that spent days with me during Nathaniel's labor and delivery. She organizes this event each year. Last year she asked me to read a poem, but because of bed rest I wasn't even sure I'd be able to attend. She asked again this year and so I said yes (and butchered the reading of the poem, by the way - goldfish, goldfinch, what's the difference). It was good to be involved, but I'm a nervous person in front of a crowd of strangers. She introduced me and shared a little bit about how we'd initially gotten to know each other, and I cried. It's one thing to be the person who brings it up all the time, to be the one reminding others of Nathaniel's very existence, but it's a whole new ball of wax when it's someone else remembering him to me.

(By the way, Lorrie, next year I'll actually eat a piece of your fudge! I got sidetracked talking with Peggy and missed my opportunity before it was all packed away! Nate said it was excellent, though.)

So we've made it through another year. It's ridiculous how time has flown by. We took a bouquet (gifted to Nathaniel by Amy at New Seasons, that wonderful woman) to Nathaniel's grave and talked with Hazel about him. She's too young to understand yet, but I want her to know she has an older brother waiting to meet her in heaven. I picture him there, as a healthy and whole man, like he should have been if everything had been perfect. I look forward to the day when I can meet him face to face and hold his hand. I think he'll know me. That's a hope I hold on to anyway.

I am so incredibly, eternally grateful for Hazel and her health. She's such a marvelous little person! She finally began crawling her little heart out. I'm so proud of her! She followed me around the house on hands and knees today.

Thinking through our loss of Nathaniel is so sad and difficult, but then I think of Hazel and I feel such pleasure. It's a strange thing to experience all these emotions at once. They seem so at odds. I'm so glad the day has passed. I feel some relief. And I'm blown away by how many women I know who are pregnant! Last count, sixteen. Can you believe it? What joy!



[Packing. Let's not even discuss the five coolers we took with us.]

It was so hard missing out on Magone last year. Such a bummer. But we made up for it this year! A whole two years to look forward to a trip - the anticipation built and built until I thought I would burst. But burst I did when I realized that Hazel was going to be colder than she ever had been in her life.

It took a couple days but I devised a cold weather battle plan. I decided layers would be the best route.

It's been known to get so cold at night in Magone that it snows. Can you imagine sleeping in a canvas tent with no warmth except your own body heat and a massive pile of blankets? Nate and I have a small 4-man ten that we used for a couple years in Magone. The front flap wouldn't zip so we slept with the mesh closed, but still wide open to the elements. We were incredibly lucky to have Rick and Karen offered us the use of their big canvas tent.

We had room for all of our bags (and man alive did we have an incredible number of bags), Hazel's play pen, and our air mattress, with room to spare. We considered buying a little propane space heater, but decided against it for fear of dying from carbon monoxide or a fire. Nate and I slept with three sleeping bags and several layers of clothing; Hazel slept in her playpen with two blankets and a coat draped over her, and a thick quilt draped over the entire playpen. Each night I would put her in a onesie, leggings, two pairs of socks, long sleeved and footed pjs, a hat, and then stick her (in all of that) inside a fleece bodysuit.

We prayed a lot leading into the trip. I feared having her practically sleeping in the snow. She's 10 months old - she doesn't put off very much heat on her own!

We experienced a weather miracle in Magone. The first night was the coldest, getting down into the 30s, but after that the nightly temperature rose into the 50s and 60s. What a huge blessing! I still bundled Hazel each night for the most part, but she slept so much warmer. And it got so hot during the day that she actually spent a couple days in only her diaper. I don't remember that ever happening before in the 17 years I've been vacationing at Magone Lake.

Nate had the chance to go hunting with Doug and Dad...Oh yeah, the Batons were there this year. When we got in late on Sunday night, we were surprised to see Doug and Linda at Mom and Dad's campsite. All the stars aligned, apparently, and they were able to make the trip at the same time. They've been Magone buddies for many, many years.

So Nate borrowed camo from Doug and walked with Dad one evening and with Doug another night. He had a great time. He didn't carry a bow (no license) but he enjoyed the trails. Hazel wasn't sure what to think of his face paint. By the way, that was really fun to do to Nate, although I think I could have gone darker in some spots...

Another night we all trekked up to Lake Butte. Mom and Dad timed it for sunset, which was such a beautiful sight. I failed to take any fantastic photos of it - nothing on camera could compare with the glow, so I stopped trying. Each picture was a little disappointing. But here are some fun family pics!

We had such a good time. Every year we go, Nate and I make promises that we'll walk the lake at least once a day, and every year we miss the mark by a mile. This year we made it around a couple times. Rae Ann found us and Ergo at her favorite resale shop (in Ashton) so I played around with it at home while packing before the trip, and then Nate got a chance to use it at Magone.

I'd definitely say it wasn't his favorite thing. It works well for me, and Hazel doesn't seem to mind too much, but it fit kind of funny on Nate. (We recently scored a Kelty Kids backpack from my church blog, and he's in love with that carrier.)

The lake was just the same as the first time I ever laid eyes on it, I swear. Beavers still live there, deer still tromp through the campsites to get to the water, crawdads still meander along the river bottom. There's a dock now for small pontoon boats, and I'd say the duck population has skyrocketed, but it's all pretty much the same. I think that's what makes it so wonderful going back every year. It's been the same for me for so long now that I hope it's the same for Hazel as she grows up vacationing there.

Here are a few random shots from around camp. Hazel spent a good chunk of time being passed around between adults, but when that became tiresome, she played in her Kidco Pea Pod, which she loves. I tossed a bunch of toys in there with her and let her have at it. She can't roll far, so she generally just pushes against as many sides as she can reach all at once. The mesh keeps out bugs, so she was protected and I never worried about her while she was in it.

Some things about the trip definitely changed from years previous, because of Hazel. We couldn't all go shooting (nothing to protect her little ears with, not to mention my fear of stray bullets), so Nate took off one afternoon with Mom and Dad to go shooting nearby. Usually we'd pack up for a day trip, drive for hours to find a lone field or canyon to shoot in, have lunch there, and then stay out until evening. Hazel kept me rooted at the campsite though, dependent on regular feedings and nap times.

Speaking of nap time...Hazel shocked Nate and I while on the trip. She slept like a rock the entire time. We'd put her down for a nap and most times she'd usually go right to sleep, not at all phased by our presence in camp as we made noise talking or cooking or doing dishes. At night, same thing. We'd put her to bed and she'd knock right out, and then not wake up at all when Nate and I would unzip the tent to climb in and get ready for bed. We finally stopped trying to be quiet toward the end of the trip. Why tip toe around when you don't have to? It was marvelous!

Nate is a very serious packer. We have our jobs as we get ready for trips: I prep and pack all the food, pull everything we need out of various closets and storage spaces, and I pack Hazel's and my bags. He loads the truck with everything I've gotten ready and packs his own bags. He has a loading system, trust me. He's so organized that he was able to fit an ungodly amount of stuff into his truck bed without needing to use the cab of the truck as overflow. I wish I had gotten a picture of the truck packed, but I didn't. Here's the bungy cord system he used to hold everything down, though.

We look forward to next year's trip already. Hazel will be older and more independent, so it will be even more fun to go on walks around the lake with her. She hit the ten month mark while we were on the trip, so that was exciting.

This was our first trip back after losing Nathaniel in 2007. We had just gotten home from Magone when I went to the midwife's office and we saw him dying. It was sort of odd to be back at Magone - that last trip came to mind often. September 25th was a tough day for me (the day he died in my belly), but we made it through okay. September 25th to October 2nd just sucks in general, so these next few days will be iffy for me.

Magone is just the start of my favorite season! What's ahead, you ask, besides rainy weather and cold feet? Changing leaves! Wind! Apple sauce and dehydrated pears! The pumpkin patch! Harvest festivals! Halloween! Thanksgiving! The birthdays of two special little girls, Stella and Hazel! AND THEN, AND THEN...I can barely contain myself...TREE KILLING! Shoot, I want to go watch "White Christmas" right this second. But no, no I'll be good and wait until after Thanksgiving.

[That's going to take some serious self-control, I'll tell you that right now.]