Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Holidays!

This year, we had a great time spending the holidays in Bellevue with Dad, Sonja, Chris, Jess and baby Seren. On Christmas Eve, we hunted down the Marination Mobile, which is a food truck that specializes in Hawaiian/Korean fast food including Spam Sliders (yum!) and was voted the best Food Cart in America. Delish.

Seren and Stella were cuddled and played with, naturally, and of course dressed in their Christmas outfits. Dad concocted a delicious mexican breakfast of potatoes, sauteed sausages, nopalitos with eggs, tortillas and my favorite... mimosas!

We sat around being lazy all day and opened gifts in the evening after many rounds of mimosas, spiked apple cider and red wine. Dad gave the grandgirls matching necklaces (see pic) and spoiled me with the most beautiful turquoise earrings - probably because I'm always stealing Jessica's :) Jess overdid herself by stuffing my stocking with ridiculous amounts of chemical free and organic body products and topped it off with a delicious honeycrisp apple tucked in to the toe of my stocking - just like Grandma used to do.

Nick and I are thankful that we were able to spend our holidays with our fantastic family and look forward to the new year with our new addition.


I really hope Stella and Seren grow up enjoying having their pictures taken together, wearing matching outfits and all other sorts of weird things that Jess and I plan on making them do until they are old enough to move out...

Visit with Grandma & Grandpa Evans

Rhonda and Tommy were beside themselves when they found out I was pregnant, and even more so when they found out it was a girl. Even though they aren't technically Stella's Grandparents, they will always love her as if she were their own.

Rhonda made Stella about 10 different handmade things for my baby shower from booties with matching hats (seriously, 6 sets...). quilts, blankets, onesies... I'm sure I'm missing quite a few things...

Stella and I went to hang out with them and open her Christmas gifts. We had almost as much fun as they did and can't wait to see them again :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jess and Seren visit pdx

It's hard to believe that it's already been 6 weeks since my niece was born. It's even harder to believe that 4 months has passed since Stella was born! Jess and I have been through the most exciting, trying, happy and amazing moments in our lives together and it's fitting that our daughters will have the chance to spend their lives growing and learning from each other, too.

Hunting for a Christmas tree

We couldn't have picked a more perfect day to go find and cut our Christmas tree. We woke up to a crisp clear day, so we bundled up Stella, packed ourselves in to the car and drove out to Oregon City to find our first Christmas tree. Now it's home and lighted, but I guess we should find some ornaments...

A day to give thanks

This year, there are many things that we are thankful for: our health, our happiness, our beautiful daughter, our loving family, a comfortable home, our generous friends and all of the many memories and experiences both in the past and to come.

Thanksgiving this year was spent at Nick's parent's house in Vancouver, Washington. Nick's brother (Jeff) and his wife (Misty) were in town from Marysville along with their three kids (Matthew, William and Elizabeth). We had a great time!

Stella got to wear an adorable Holiday dress from her Auntie Tiffy, too :)

Girls night dinners

Every Wednesday night, the girls (and our children) get together. One person cooks and everyone else chats and plays with the kids. It's a tradition that goes back to Sunday night dinners up at the commune. I hope we can always find time to keep this tradition going. It's so nice to see all my girls.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shake it up, baby now...

Becky gave us this awesome jumper toy for Stella. Stella loves it and is quite entertaining to watch!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Four months ago today

Four months ago today, Nick and I experienced the most amazing day of our lives. Stella came in to our world. Stella has taught us that we can love something more than ourselves, more than each other and more than we ever thought was possible.

The day Stella was born, she was so small, so fragile and so tired. She slept and nursed and then slept some more. We cherished any time she would smile in her sleep or open her eyes long enough to catch a glimpse of the outside world.

When she was about 2 months old, she started smiling much more often. By the time she was 3 months old, we could easily make her smile. Now, she wakes up with a grin on her face and laughs as if she's never been happier than to wake up next to us.

Every day, she is learning something new and mastering new skills. I look forward to helping her learn and grow and experience the world. It's the most fun and exciting job I've ever done.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The lamb, the housewife and Aquaman

I know this sounds like it should be the basis of a new comic strip, but instead these were our Halloween costumes this year!

We dressed Stella up and took her to a friend's house party. She was (of course) the highlight of the party, not to mention, the first person asleep. She sure knows how to party hard!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The story of how my niece arrived

On September 21st, I was having dinner with a dear friend when I received a frantic phone call from my sister. Jessica was only 31 weeks pregnant and had been having some strange pains, so she went to her midwife for a check-up. Soon, she was given some very disturbing and urgent news: she was dilated to 5cm and was being rushed to the nearest hospital. Jessica braced herself to give birth to her daughter 9 weeks early.

Luckily, she didn't have her daughter that night. As I hurriedly drove to Seattle with Stella, Jessica was at the hospital being put on all sorts of contraptions and IVs to monitor her contractions as the postnatal doctors attempted to stop or stall her labor as long as they could.

Because Jessica was so high risk to deliver her baby early, she was admitted and kept in the hospital on strict bed rest until her daughter was to be born.

While in the hospital, Jess even celebrated her 30th birthday! Chris rolled her in to the guest lounge a few doors from her hospital room and we had a large group of friends and family gather to eat cake and open gifts. I'm sure this was definitely not what Jess had in mind for her 30th birthday, but it ended up being a lot of fun.

At 34 weeks gestation, 3 weeks after being admitted in to the hospital, the specialists agreed that it was time to let Jessica's body do what it had been trying to do for weeks. After having her water bag popped, Jessica went directly in to hard labor.

I don't remember ever being so frightened in my life! With the help of Chris (Jessica's boyfriend), we talked Jessica through each contraction as she worked her hardest to wrap her mind around the pain that she was feeling. It seemed like only minutes passed (but I'm sure it felt like days to Jess) and the magical little girl was born.

I've never felt so much fear and joy and relief all at the same time. After such a long and agonizing stay in the hospital, my Sister had mustered up the strength within herself to bring her daughter in to this world completely naturally. I can't even imagine being forced to lay still in a hospital bed for three weeks and then minutes later, be doing the hardest physical work I've ever done in my life. I'm sure it took every ounce of her physical, emotional and spiritual strength to do what she did, and I'm so glad that she did.

Because of all of Jess's hard work, Seren Chapa McClurken was born on October 11th at 5:13pm. She weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces — which is a wonderful weight even at 6 weeks early!

Seren has been in the NICU at the hospital since her birth and will be heading home as soon as she is able to eat on her own. Jessica and Chris are overjoyed with their daughter as are everyone in our family. We can't wait to hold and cuddle this beautiful little girl and tell her how much we have been waiting for her arrival.

Jess and Chris just before labor began

Getting cleaned up just after delivery

The beautiful baby girl

Jess and Seren meet

The new Daddy