Jo & I chatting- Grammy gets a special mention, she also got referenced today when I put Jo in a sweatshirt (Grammy REALLY likes to wear sweatshirts). Jo lost sight of me at the employee store a few weeks ago & got really scared, so she is now prepped for how to handle an "uh oh i'm lost situation."


5 hrs on MAX

Yesterday a significant portion of my extended family went on a max (public transport...) adventure. Public transport is not complete without one crazy man singing "give peace a chance," and yesterday didn't dissapoint. Sara, who sees the teachable moment in every circumstance, leaned over to her teenagers and said, "see, that is why you say NO to drugs."

We took 4 children under the age of 3 plus 5 teenagers from Clackamas Town Center to the Nike Employee store (read: BEAVERTON). The plan was to stop at the zoo on the way home, but in a strange twist of fortune/misfortune (depending on which age group you asked) the zoo was closed. It was a 5 hr round trip ordeal, each way on max accounting for about 2 hrs.

1. Nursing on the MAX, which truly didn't seem to phase the guy sitting next to me. He must have been an experienced public transit commuter...or maybe he was just thankful to not be sitting next to "give peace a chance" guy.
2. Finley getting a diaper change on the MAX.
3. Hearing the words, "Final Stop" unexpectedly downtown, where we were not planning on figuring out a train switch.
4. Kimberly lamenting the lack of starbucks at all nearby stops (I was lamenting with her)
5. All of us lurching & jerking around each time the train screeched to a halt.
6. Herding the children away from the dead nutria at the greenspace by the employee store where we enjoyed or picnic dinner after finding out the zoo was closed.
7. Jo skinning off the better part of her knee in front of the employee store while trying out her new running shorts.

It was an adventure to be sure!


Baylor's big smile, Patty captured it on film. She is great at getting amazing kid pics!

Middlebrooks Wedding!

Chris & Rachel got hitched last weekend! The wedding was beautiful, and the couple so in love! Their vows were sweet and sincere. They had the 2 cutest flower girl ever. And I only took about 10 pictures before my camera died, so most of these are hijacked photos courtesy of Patty or the photobooth!



darn near close to all the hamilton family!


She got a sucker for being the flower girl


Ash is PREGO!!!

My little sis is PREGNANT! Jack and I are in shock that our LITTLE sis is prego. When we talk on the phone Jack likes to say, "Can you believe Ash is PREGNANT!?" and I say, "NO!!!" Very surreal- but we are SO excited for Ash & Chris- they will make a great set of parents. I think they're having a BOY.

Ash & Chris told my parents in a VERY cool way- here's the video. Luke, Mom & Dad are finding out - me, patty & jack knew the news:

more pics to come!


Meet & Greet

Here is Baylor meeting Aunt Kimberly a few weeks ago. Kimberly had just traveled over 40 hours & been informed her luggage was delayed- but she still looks beautiful! We are so excited to have her home!

Here is Baylor meeting Luke's great-auntie Bev, who I think is Baylor's eldest relative! Auntie Bev is so sweet with babies and kids- she lets Jo climb all over her walker and absent mindedly stroked Baylor's little hands the entire time she held him. It was so sweet.

Eyes for Aunt Laurie

My Aunt Laurie drove all they way from Jordan Valley to meet Baylor after he was born. Since he was so little & new he didn't open his eyes for her, and she asked me to post a pic showing that he does indeed have eyeballs.

Ignore the pink blanket. Poor kid - that is what happens when you have a big sister- you get lots of pink accessories handed down.

You can't see his eyes, I just like that picture.

His typical look- a mix of disgruntledness and curiousity about where his milk-cow wandered off to.

'Parkle Shoes

This is the second pair (in what will surely be a long line) of "'parkle shoes" from my parents. I don't care much for sparkle shoes, but Jo does. She thinks they compliment every outfit. She tells me they can be dressed up, or dressed down. They're even suitable with tube socks, obviously.


Stephens Beach Trip Get Away!

It started as a simple plan - My Dad & Uncle Bart would take their granddaughters to the beach for the weekend. Then their wives found out and insisted they take a chaperon (me) to make sure they didn't lose or otherwise mame the kids through gross neglect. So this weekend I chaperoned a grandpa's beach trip. They didn't know it, but they were undergoing a serious test in which they could both gain and lose points towards child-care independence. Here's how they scored:

+10 points: We saw a momma bear & her two cubs on the way to Uncle Bart's cabin! My dad earned points by stopping a safe distance away.
-10 points: he unrolled the window as we drove by so Jo could see. And so the bear could eat my baby through the window like a drive through snack.

Here's dad & Jo next to "Chinookie" the giant carved bear. Jo consistently called it "JACK."
+10 points for foresight- Uncle Bart had it commissioned and told the artist to carve it WITHOUT baring its teeth so as not to scare the kids. It worked- Jo was not scared of the giant bear.

+30 points: Uncle Bart asked if the life jacket I brought for Jo was coast guard approved. My dad double checked to see that it was. Bart also informed me of his tsunami evacuation plan which includes a pre-packed emergency back pack. Good thinking gentlemen.

Uncle Bart bought a beautiful new boat for their anniversary. Good thing I wasn't scoring on thoughtfulness towards spouses- they actually earned +20 points for acquiring a new safer boat with which to take the babies out to sea in. As you may have noticed, Jo was not a fan of the boat at first- but after some yogurt bribery she became a big fan! While crabbing she actually took a peaceful 1.5 hr nap out on the water!

+30 points for meal prep. Uncle Bart fed the kids corn dogs, Dad grilled steak, and then Bart made us his (first time ever) famous french toast.
-5 points for feeding them donuts for breakfast. I can't really fault them for it though- the donuts looked good & the girls were happy.

+40 points for enforcing weather-appropriate clothing. As a curve ball, I packed Jo, myself & Baylor only tank tops & shorts. This wasn't short sighted on my part- it was meant to be a special test. My dad passed with flying colors when he tolerated and funded a stop at the outlet mall to get Jo some long pants & the sweatshirt you see here. Jo kept asking for help to get her "helmet" (hood) on.

+15 courtesy points: The 4 crabs caught were murdered & eaten out of sight of me & the kids. Good job uncle bart!

-15 points: Jo was pinched by a crab under my father's supervision. She lived, and did not bleed. Here she is showing me how the crab attacked her- with his pinchers.
+10 points: Dad & Bart slathered the girls with sunscreen without my direction! Well played. Nearly offsets the attack on my child by a sea monster. By the way, Dad was also pinched by a crab during the trip. He did bleed, but lived.
+10 safety points: They didn't attempt this without propping Baylor up with one hand.

-10 points for getting a bit close to my newborn son with this giant crab who is trying to eat him! (hence the horrified and horrifying look on my face)

+10 points for taking pictures of my son on the boat

-2 points for exposing my son's pink diaper (which we all agreed to never tell him about)

+20 points for suggesting popcorn & a movie to two overtired girls on Saturday night. -30 points for pouring some mixed drinks & leaving to go visit the neighbor. As they left they said, "See Michelle, if you weren't here this would keep them busy for 2 hours while we go visit our friend." +10 points for maintaining a sense of humor.

Overall, I am happy to say that the Stephens brothers PASSED their test with flying colors. They doted on the girls, exhibited massive amounts of patience, and ensured that all the ladies (myself especially!) had a fabulous time. Bart & Linda's cabin is GORGEOUS- I have a whole list of things I want to tell Linda that I love. I told Bart, but men don't appreciate complimenting one's choice in linens as much as women do. It was a super relaxing weekend - a wonderful retreat. And a special blessing too to see these two men fawn over a pair of diva's who love them as much as they're loved by them.

Love you Dad & Uncle Bart!!!


Newborn pics

Baylor is a month old now, but these pics were taken when he was 2 weeks old by our favorite photographer, Stephanie Klein. I love my little newborn, but the pics of Jo are my favorite- Stephanie captured her spunk and personality perfectly!

Doesn't he have the most kissable lips?

Luke trying to reason with Baylor (a scene sure to be repeated often before he turns 18)

I love her arm around her daddy. He calls her "little monkey" and she calls him "silverback."

This is about right...

The same look she has when she sits indian style (oops, i think the pc term now is "criss cross applesauce" on our floor watching Elmo's World)

FAKE smile:

REAL smile:

Twerpy look she gives you when she doesn't buy your line, or when she is talking crazy:

Baylor's cute little belly button:

I believe he may have the strictly utilitarian, pointy, Middlebrooks rear:

Last one:

Oops- I lied

and you believed me!