Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Year Ago Today...

... a lil' bugger was born.

Happy Birthday, Thomas Magnum!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009, you turned ONE YEAR OLD! I’m thrown back to memories of Sam’s first birthday and how similar the two look at this age.

This year we celebrated with Nana Shirley and Pop-Pop. Ron made a delicious gourmet dinner of baked lemon pepper flounder and artichokes, which was a touch more for the adults; Sam dined on chunkified rotini with meat sauce. After dinner, we took the party outside, quite literally; the evening was just starting to cool down, the sun setting. When the cake was

placed in front of Thom, it didn't take him long to WHAP his hand down into the icing, and then he began studying his hand, in complete wonder of the MUSH it had just landed in. I did put a small dollop of icing on his tongue, but he didn't DIVE IN to the cake at all. It did end up on his face and some in his mouth, but he was mostly just interested in making a holy mess. Sam, however, had a good time clawing his way into the icing and shoving what he could of it into HIS mouth. :-)
Thomas, we love you so much, Sweetheart. You are our Smilin’ Happy Boy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Portland, Oregon - CHECK!

Let’s begin this long missive with a short summary:

Our trip to Portland was AWESOME!

We began our adventure Friday evening, July 17, by heading to Rochester to spend the night, making it much easier for our 6am flight. We packed up the kids, the car and got there in time to swim a little (Sam and Ron) and order in Pizza Hut for supper. We all slept reasonably well considering the alarm going off at 3:45am!!! We had the kids up, dressed and all of us out the door by 4:30. The hotel provided a free shuttle to the airport (so helpful) and we then began the check-in process with a LOT of other people at this early hour.

Passing through Security went rather smoothly (my, how the process has changed since I last flew in November of 2001 (just 2 months after 9/11, to Aruba, but security was still ‘lax’ then)) and soon we were boarding the plane to Chicago (layover - both ways). This was both kids’ first time flying. Not that Thom gave a hoot, but Sam was pretty excited, especially given his penchant for pointing out the tiniest of airplanes in the sky when we are driving. He loved the feel in his tummy during take-off (I’m sure it helped emmensely that his Mom and Dad love flying and were all smiles).

Sam, for the duration of all flights to and from Portland, was awesome! Most of the time, he was perfectly content snacking, watching Iron Giant on my laptop and making things outta pipe cleaners and foam stickers. Only for a brief time can I remember him getting ansy. He even slept through one landing and one take-off!

Thom on the other hand - - well, for the record, he, too, was VERY GOOD most of the time. He flew for free on our laps, which meant Ron or I literally had to hold him (packed flights, no spare seating). My hat goes off to Ron (and always will in, situations like these) for his amazing amount of patience. Many times Thom imitated a baby bird flapping his arms for his first flight, and Ron sat thru the whaps and pawing with a big smile. Thom did his usual amount of “talking” but on one of the flights home from Portland, he was really going to town with the screaming and crying. We got several “compliments” as to the lung capacity on our child. Mm.. yeah. We might try to block out the sound, but we’re certainly not deaf. Whatta bugger.

We arrived in Portland at 10:30am. That whole time difference thing is really a trip. I personally did not get adjusted for at least three days, and I don’t think Ron or the kids did either, considering we were all rousing from sleep in the morning at TEN O’CLOCK. We rented a car for the first three days, particularly in order to visit one of Ron’s online friends who lives in Albany, an hour and a half from Portland.

Our car rental reservation got UPGRADED! We originally asked for an affordable compact car (with at least 4 doors, please), but they didn’t have any and so we ended up with a Pontiac Pacifica (think boxy Jeep). It made for a roomy ride, esp with kids in carseats in the back. We got to Justin and CC’s and were welcomed with a cozy atmosphere and friendly faces. Justin’s family was extremely nice and accommodating. We had a bedroom to ourselves where we all fit comfortably. Later that evening, they hosted a cook-out in which Justin invited more mutual online friends of Ron’s and his. A very nice gathering of different people, lots of kids for Sam to play with, and even Thom had a little friend about 2 months younger than him.

During our stay until Monday afternoon, we visited the Enchanted Forest storybook land/amusement park (for younger children – very cute) and experienced the uncharacteristically cold TUNDRA of the west coastline. The wind was a-blowin’ and the air was a-chilly, but the kids dug it. Thom chose to have a blow-out on the one trip I forgot spare clothes. He rode home in just a diaper with the heat on (which was welcomed, since our bods were chilled to the bone). A wonderful visit with new friends.

Monday, we drove back to the city of Portland, which we never really experienced upon exiting the plane. We found the house we were so fortunate to be able to reside in for the remainder of our visit (Hope’s fiancĂ© Sebastien’s cousin’s girlfriend’s house, all to ourselves!) in Southeast Portland. Cute, older established neighborhood. We had just a very short amount of time in which to return the car rental (in downtown Portland) and I volunteered to return it and walk back (my calculations and mapping said it was just 2.5 miles). After returning it with 10 min to spare before closing (whew), I set out on my return. The gal at Avis suggested I ride the Max Light Rail to Point X and then walk home. Sounded good to me. I picked up supper (Greek), strolled carefree, excited to be in a new town, walking confident. I hopped on the rail and while it was rollin', i had time to REALLY study the map. I quickly realized that riding this rail would not help me at ALL, as it was sending me way into NE Portland, and i wanted to go south. So i got off, turned around and got BACK off where i got on. And i started hoofing it. Which was really nice - the weather was beautiful, tons of diverse people, a great waterfront - a scene right out of a movie, really. But soon i crossed the bridge and realized that the road i took TO Avis was unwalkable and completely under construction. So i winged it, by intuition. I did eventually make it back to the house, but not without taking an hour more than it should have and not without acquiring some monster half-quarter sized blisters on my un-socked feet (no time to find socks!). Ho hum. I worried Ron with my lateness, i was totally pooped and hot, and the rest of the evening was a little tense and very quiet. Needless to say, i slept like a log that night.

The next day, Tuesday, we chilled at the house until it was time to go to the Thai restaurant that Hope and Sebastien had picked to gather the families to meet before the wedding. I researched the public transit system Trimet via their VERY USER-FRIENDLY website (the house had WiFi - nice!) and got us on the bus(es) to the restaurant. Took about 40 min. Sam really enjoyed the bus, and so did i quite frankly. It dropped us off right in front, and we had time to walk around the neighborhood and check stuff out. Dinner with the family was delicious and both boys did quite well with the introduction of new, spicier-than-usual (but oh so tasty) foods. Thom really dug the curry chicken!!! Sam liked his eggroll. It was a great night, cool weather, nice family.

Wednesday we decided to hit the Children's Museum (consequently right next door to the Zoo, but much cheaper, so it won the coin toss) en route to the Inn where Hope and Seb were getting married and where we (and all the family) were staying for 2 nights. We hit the bus and rail system again, loaded down with all the things we needed for 2 days (including the pack-n-play! - poor strongman Ron) and Sam had a good hour and a half to run around the Children's Museum. They even had a baby section for Thom! Both boys loved it there. Soon we were on a bus that dropped us right at the front entrance to McMenamin's Edgefield in Troutdale, OR.

If you go to Portland, you've got to take at least a day trip to check this place out. It's an amusement park for adults. It's a great big Inn with an indescribable flair for EYE CANDY. Every single nook and cranny is covered with intricate detailed whimsical paintings!!! Oddly, i have little documentation of this and I was trying to figure out WHY, and i think the reason is because i was so overwhelmed, it didn't occur to me to take pictures. Not to mention the pictures i would take would no where NEAR capture the essense and feeling you get from experiencing it. Every stairwell, every hallway, every door to every room, even the exposed pipes hanging from the ceiling, there were PAINTINGS. Just awe-some!!! Aside from the inn, there are several beer tasting areas, a few pubs, a movie theatre, trails and paths that lead to discoveries, a soaking pool (think lazy river meets jacuzzi!) and at least one big Hall, where Hope and Seb got married.

Wednesday night was the rehearsal dinner at a very lovely place called Leach Botanical Garden. The paths all around this place weaved and wound into the foliage, showing us all the greenery, flowers and plants. Sam was loving going up and down the paths with whoever would take him (which were MANY different family!). Seb's parents provided an awesome spread of salads, dips, crackers, cheeses, fruits.. YUM YUM. There was a variety of beer and wine too, but, ho hum, i stuck to the seltzer water and lemonade. Thom was happily passed from one baby-lover to the next, that is, when he wasn't flapping wildly to get down and crawl around. Sam came home very sweaty and very tired. It was nice to meet Emily, the gal whose house we were staying in. She was very friendly and cute.

Thursday was Hope and Seb's BIG DAY!!! I spent the morning at a Bridal Brunch hosted by several of Hope's closest, classiest girlfriends. She is surrounded by wonderful gals who so obviously love her to death, it really brought a smile to my face. Hope arrived with her hair clipped in pin waves, setting up for the wedding hour. So all of us gals, to make her 'fit in,' put rollers in our hair! Fun. While the ladies of the family were there, Ron and the boys hung out a lot at Ruby's Soaking Pool. Sam loved the little ledge where he could walk around (but 'made' for our butts to sit on). When i returned, i caught them on the way back from the pool and they were totally cool with going down again with me. Around 4, our family and Ron's sis Kim and Ron Sr.'s childhood and lifelong friend Bill and his wife Jacquetta all headed down for happy hour. Sam and Thom snacked on crackers and french fries (!) and the adults had munchies and drinks. Soon it was time to head back and get ready for the wedding!

Needless to say, the Telford clan was rushing around and bumping into one another to get ready in time. The clock was ticking way too fast and Sam is very good at picking these precise moments to decide he does NOT want to do anything asked of him. So getting him in nice pants, a shirt and vest was a task. But it was ACCOMPLISHED!!! Ron got gussied up with his white tie on white shirt and suspenders and he and Sam ran down to the venue. I was left to get Thom and myself ready. I didn't even have time to do my hair or take a shower (gawd)! I threw my hair all up into a loose ponytail, tossed on the feather headband, choker and long pearls, my long dress and my sandals and rushed as fast as i could, with Thom in the stroller, convinced i had missed the whole ceremony.

Phew. I hadn't. So i had time to catch my breath. I did not have time, however, to realize that i HAD remembered my camera in my snazzy beaded purse and inadvertantly did NOT take any pics of the actual ceremony (grumble!). That is where Hope's friend Caitlin comes into play. She DID take many awesome pics, some of which i'm borrowing here. Hope looked amazing, Sebastien looked like the Happiest Man EVER, and the 1001 paper cranes they made hung around in a happy, glorious fashion. Just about every guest was decked out in their finest 20s styles, many gals 'flapperized' and looking mahvelous. I was beaming at the energy and enthusiasm that just radiated from everyone. The ceremony was so awesome... so very Hope and Seb. At one point, Seb was choking up a bit (as was EVERYONE else too!) and Hope leaned in to kiss him and then waved her hand to us like "you didn't just see that." SO CUTE. I am so proud and happy to be Hope's sister in law, and now to have Seb be a part of our family too. They ROCK.

The reception rocked on, and the kids started petering out. Sam's only goal for the whole night was to RUN RUN RUN outside!!!! Luckily, much like at Leach Gardens, he was easily accomodated by someone who didn't mind staying outside with him. One of the boyfriends of Hope's gals twirled Sam for a good 30 minutes! Thank you, Sean, for giving Mommy a much needed break. ;-) Everyone slept VERY WELL that night.

The next morning, we had to check out at 11. We packed up stuff and Ellie gave us a break on public transit by taking us back to Emily's house. We spent the day hanging out and checking out the local scene in the Hawthorne District. We rode the bus there, and then proceeded to walk 20+ blocks (Thom on my back), taking in the sights and people. We even checked out a local yard sale (and got some stuff!) as well as stopping in a pub that Ron remembers going to, where we got some munchies to tide us all over until supper.

Hope and Seb, Seb's uncle and brother, and Hope's friend came to Emily's house bringing leftovers for supper! Yum yum. It was nice to relax with them, chat, and give them the drawing i did of them for their wedding gift. I do think they liked it. I wonder where they'll hang it?

The next morning, we got up and had to take the bus and rail to the airport (about an hour total time). Soon we were boarding our plane and heading home.

As you can tell by The Longest Blog Entry To Date, we had a fun-filled, jam-packed, week-long visit to Portland, OR. I would go back in a heartbeat. I immediately felt the cool vibe of the city and the area. I loved the surroundings and the landscape. I hear it rains there a lot, but the week we were there, it was nothing but sun and blue skies. A very nice town to check out.