Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 2

Hi everyone. We are so glad to be "on the other side," as everyone here is calling it. Chloe is doing very well. She is SUPER swollen - her eyes are pretty much swollen shut, she kind of looks like one of the creatures from "Men in Black." But we like her anyway. We know she'll be coming around to her regular self amazingly soon. She slept quite a bit last night, and Shawn and I were both able to grab some sleep in the quiet room across the hall, so that was very helpful. They're keeping Chloe comfortable with morphine, tylenol and coedine. She ate about 5 oz. from a bottle this morning for the first time, which was great. We'll try to keep everyone updated throughout the day. We're expecting to move to the Infant/Toddler wing today sometime. Thank you all so much for all of your prayers and words of encouragement. It really means so much to us. We knew in our heads that Chloe would be fine, but that doesn't keep the fear out of your heart. Only prayer, love, and faith can do that, and you all came through with flying colors in the prayer, love and faith department! Thanks for that. We're going to post some pictures later today on a separate link after we download them. They are pretty intense, but just realize all will be well much sooner than you would think!

On another note, please continue to pray for us, as well as for Brooke and Daniel Brooks and their extended family. Brooke's uncle, Kevin Ivey, was killed in an accident yesterday. His wife and family are obviously devastated, and my heart is just breaking for them. I feel like we never know how close we are to mortality until we're REALLY close or there. Kiss your families, tell them how much you love them, and pray for the Brooks, the Iveys and the rest of their family. Love to you all.

Monday, September 29, 2008

And she's back!

We just got to walk Chloe up to Pediatric ICU - she "sailed right through" according to her doctor. The surgery actually took about 2 hours less than they had anticipated - from the first incision at 9 a.m. to just after 11:30. Thanks again to everyone for all your prayers and encouragement. She's doing great - swollen, but sleeping for now.

p.s. yay for iphone.

and she's off...

well, we handed chloe off to the doctors just a few miniutes ago. Thanks for all the prayers - she was a perfect angel this morning, no crying and totally calm.

Me, well that's another story....

We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Please keep Chloe in your prayers over the next week. Check back for updates...we'll keep everyone posted as soon as we get a chance! Thanks, and lots of love. For more info on her surgery and craniosynostosis, check out this post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eat a Lime!

In the spirit of adventure, we decided to take the kids to the Portland Pirate Festival this last weekend. They were very excited to dress up and bring their swords out in public (not something we usually do). They had a great time watching Captain Bogg & Salty, were a little overwhelmed by the authentic cannon demonstration (see photos) and wanted to know if we were REALLY going to leave them in the stocks. (Tempting...)

The best part of the day, however, came later that night. You think your kids are at that age where they can, you know, differentiate reality from fiction. Jackson knows about Santa, he understands that cartoons are fake, and he knows that the Red Robin is actually a guy in a suit. But let me back up. When we first arrived at the parking area for the Pirate Festival, there was a guy in a very authentic pirate costume putting something away into the trunk of HIS car. We got the boys out, and the stroller out, and the baby out, and the backpack out, and all the various pieces of the pirate costumes (see photos). About 10 minutes later we were ready to set out. Let's just say that we realized at some point that this wasn't just a fun, silly festival for some of these people. It was a LIFESTYLE. I can't decide which was worse - the entire families dressed to the hilt in authentic pirate garb (including fake rum bottles for the kids to drink out of) OR the families in which JUST THE PARENTS WERE IN COSTUME. That's right. Kids totally in regular clothes, mom and dad looking like Blackbeard and some sort of (ahem) wench, so to speak. If I were 12, I would have died.

Anyhow, I digress. So we saw this pirate guy putting away something (his street clothes would be my guess) in his trunk. Later that evening, after we've been home for a few hours, Jackson and I have the following conversation:

Me: Did you have fun today bud?

J: Yup. Hey mom, wasn't it crazy how we saw that pirate going through peoples' trunks in the parking lot? I wonder if he found any loot.

Me: Um, what?

J: You know, the pirate that was next to us, in the parking lot, going through peoples trunks.

Me: (With realization dawning) Jack, that was HIS trunk. Of his car. He was a guy in a costume. He wasn't a real pirate looting peoples' trunks.

J: OOOOOhhhhhhhhh. (realization AND relief) I was kind of worried he'd get in our trunk next.

Apparently that whole reality/fiction thing wasn't quite as clear as I had assumed. Hmmm.

A few more of my faves, including Chloe's first time in the double decker Phil & Teds.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This is how we do it...

This is what my kids do for fun. Seriously. Do you think they're okay? I swear they did NOT learn it from us...:)

The best part is that they actually stood there and took turns LETTING the other one tie them up. Did you see where I wrote "STOOD STILL?" That doesn't happen very often with Aidan, so maybe we should tie him up more often? Hmmmmmmm....

We kept trying to tell Jackson that when you get off your bike, you can take your helmet off. He's not quite remembered that on a regular basis...hence the helmet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Yes, people, this is what it's come to. I have given in to the pressure so lovingly applied by advertisers, magazines and beauty campaigns. I've started thinking about wrinkles and fine lines. Not so much about them as about how NOT to have them. I figured what the hey - I am 30 now, I suppose it's time to use something other than Dove soap on my face if I want to preserve my youthful glow (ha.) I use sunscreen almost every day, I wash (pretty) regularly (does wiping off your face with a baby wipe count?) and I don't wear a lot of goopy makeup. But it's time to start investing for the future, I suppose. So, if I'm going to have to suck it up and buy fancy face cream, I prefer to invest in a company that calls it like it is.

And, if you're not quite confident in that, there's always more to buy.

These products came in a kit with a few other things - but the name of the kit was "Makeup Optional." As in, your skin will be so lovely, makeup will be optional. This makes me laugh, seeing as how it implies that putting ON makeup is optional. Or that if my skin wasn't lovely, I'd take the time to cover it with makeup. That hasn't happened (but for maybe once or twice) since early 2007. I swear, men with no children think these things up.

The beauty of it is, I've been using this stuff for about a month now, and guess what? My skin looks fab, if I do say so myself. My pores are smaller, texture is smooth, and I haven't had any of those "what the h*#! I'm not in high-school anymore" breakouts. Yay for Hope in a Bottle. Who knew that was where it lived?


So, mama finally broke down and bought a new sewing machine. This is a big deal, considering that I really do LOVE my old one. And when I say old, I mean like 1970's old. This is a sewing machine that Shawn's mom saved before either of her boys had wives or even had girlfriends (!) because it has all metal parts, and all the newer ones are plastic. The thing is like an old ford truck or something - all steel parts and heavy duty construction, and I LOVE it. And it's FAST. But. It hasn't been loving me lately. Some days it works, some days it doesn't. And, sadly, it doesn't have any fancy stitches or automatic buttonholers or silly, shallow things like that. So, I broke down and bought a new Singer. It's okay, but I think I might be doing something wrong. I think the machine might be smarter than me. It doesn't stop. Like, I take my foot off the pedal and it just keeps sewing. And sewing. I'm sure it's me, but it's a little discombobulating.

Anyhow, I've been playing around with some little projects from my new favorite sewing book, "Bend-the-Rules Sewing" by Amy Karol Check out her blog in my sidebar - great projects, pretty much instant gratification, and instructions that are written for NORMAL PEOPLE to understand. I swear some patterns are written for space creatures or people who have come to english as a second language.

I made this set of bibs for a friend's baby shower - they weren't sure what they were having.

I've never used a snap setter before, but I think it's one of my new favorite tools. It's just a hammer and little metal dowel thingy. Don't be surprised if you start seeing my kids in lots of "snappy" things! I also started a really fun, crazy little lap quilt for Chloe. Everything I've heard says that I need something to do with my hands during her surgery, and hand-sewing binding on a quilt is one of those things I don't usually have time to do lately. So I'm putting toghther everything else on this quilt and then I'll bind it while we're at the hospital. I love that this quilt is SO SUPER PINK! It's so girly - we're calling it the "rainbow sherbet" quilt because that's what the colors remind me of. I'll post pics when it's all finished@

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Conversations with Chloe

Chloe has found her voice lately - she loves to "talk" right after we put the boys to bed, almost every night. She does this for about 20 minutes, and then eats until she falls asleep. What a life!

Thinking about stuff...

I've been mulling over stuff in my head a lot these days. It seems like a lot of the moms I know, including myself, are trying to come up with small ways that we can make adjustments that will positively affect the "footprint" we have on this world. Anyone with kids - especially with more than one - knows that our lives are hectic. Time and sanity are both precious commodities that are not lightly parted with. But there are things we can do that don't really cost us much - simply a readjustment of the way we structure our lives. Sarri has been a big inspiration to me, as has my sister in law in CA, and lots of other mama blogs - in finding little ways to make change. Trust me, I am the first to say that I like my quick and easy things. And quite frankly, you won't find me switching to cloth diapers or using deodorant made from a crystal, or a rock, or whatever. But, little changes seem to add up, in my opinion.

As I started considering it more, I realized that I'm sort of the COO - Chief Operations Officer - for this little corporation we call the Butler Household. It's my JOB to make decisions about what we buy, eat, and produce in this house. If I expect the big corporations and politicians (ahem, Governor Palin, please raise your hand?) around the world to be held responsible for the choices they make (or don't make) then it only seems reasonable that my choices be held up for examination also. So.

Here are some of the little things we've done at our house.

We recycle, most of the time. If the bin isn't full. (note to self - buy bigger recycle bin.)

I switched all of our laundry products to environmentally friendly, petroleum free. We use the seventh generation line - it smells great and our clothes are just as clean as with conventional detergent. I also can't live without the Biokleen Bac-out stain remover. It's actually an enzyme based cleaner, so it EATS UP any organic (read food or human waste) particles. It's also fabulous for those times when you get a teeny bit distracted and forget to put the clothes in the washer into the dryer for, oh, maybe two days. Know how they get that smell that won't come out? Guess what - Bac-out gets it out. Here's the crazy thing - we started using these products because of skin issues - I was trying to eliminate anything that could be causing Aidan's exczema. Turns out, all that junk that's not good for skin isn't really good for anything.

We also switched all of our water bottles to stainless steel - no more flats of bottled water for us. Not only has this saved us TONS of money in half-consumed bottles of water, but it's eliminated any worries about BPA's and other unpronounceable acronyms leeching into our water. It's water. It should be clean. Chloe also got new bottles from Green to Grow that are BPA and phthalates free. Not to mention that they're super cute to boot.

Another change that was easy (and cute as well) was starting to bring our own bags to the grocery store/farmers market. I have a few kinds, including my favorite one that says "I EAT LOCAL VEGETABLES" in big letters. But the most useful ones are the Envirosax set that I bought. They wrap up into a tiny little tote that fits in my diaper bag no problem, are super cute, and I use them for EVERYTHING. Wet clothes from the pool? No problem. Here's a sack. Dirty shoes from the park? No problem. Here's a sack. I could go on, but you get the point.

The last thing is a recent switch - and it may not seem like that big of a deal, but again, little things add up. We switched Chloe to the non-chlorine, seventh generation diapers. Yes, they are disposable, and yes, if I were really hardcore I'd switch to cloth or at least the new flushable ones. I'm not. So get over it. I do what I can. As my sister in law Tina told me, regular diapers biodegrade in 500 years. Yes, 500. These will biodegrade in 100 years. So, like I said. It's a start. Plus, I don't have to look at those stupid cartoon characters anymore.

Again, I am in no position to pat myself on the back. I drive a giant SUV that sucks gas like you wouldn't believe. And I'm not giving it up anytime soon. But instead of feeling guilty or not good enough, I've decided to try the little things. And one step usually leads to antoher. The problem, though, is that this puts you on a whole new path. All of a sudden, you see how much more we can do. How many opportunities for change there really are. Read this list of just 10 ideas on "The Story of Stuff" website. If you haven't seen this video, it will totally change your perspective. And trust me, I love my stuff! But it can be overwhelming, once your brain starts going. So stop, breathe, have a cookie. Or better yet, a latte. You just do what you can. A little bit at a time. And while we're on the subject of lattes...

My next set of thoughts has really led me to food - how we eat and what we eat, and where it comes from. More on that tomorrow - and more about what my family wants to do better this year. Thanks for listening. Er, I mean reading.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cute baby bits

We had some good old fashioned rolling around on the bed with Miss Chloe after bath time tonight. She accomplished two big things today - first, she's learning to roll (with a tiny bit of help from daddy). Second, she managed to catch her own toes for the first time tonight - and I happened to catch it on camera! Yay for digital and yay for super cute, chubby, fresh from the bath baby parts!

working on the roll...

hair is looking pretty red...:)

cute feet

chubby arms...rosebud lips...

yummy baby belly

and we have contact! we've achieved toe grab status

and again...

Hooray hooray for the internet!

Five days. Five days with no internet at my house. At the risk of sounding like a total obsessive email/blog lover, I was nearly going out of my mind! I couldn't pay bills, couldn't check email, and couldn't even print a Rachael Ray pantry list for my friend Amy! The horror, the horror. Anyhow, all is well. We are back to the 21st century - at high speed, no less. Thank you Comcast man, thank you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Three Recesses!

So, sometimes I think my BRILLIANT 6 year old has a momentary lapse of, ahem, brilliant-ness. Lately, we've been talking about the fact that first graders stay all day, and don't come home from school until 2:30. He's SUPER stoked about the fact that he is now getting 3 recesses. What he doesn't seem to get is that he now has to stay at school and WORK for 3 more hours. Hmmmm. Well, heck, if he doesn't get it I'm certainly not going to be the Debbie Downer!

So, that said, here are some photos from the first day of school. Aidan was SO excited to finally get to use his backpack. So big, all of a sudden! We had such a great, smooth first day of school. Chloe actually slept in and had to be woken up to get in the car, which allowed us a peaceful, no screaming breakfast. After dropping off "the Bigs" (to coin a Sarri phrase) Amy B. and I met Caroline at Starbucks - our boys are all in the same class for the second year in a row, and we got a chance to chat and have coffee with only 4 kids in tow. Hmmm. Not quite as easy as we'd hoped.

Then, at 12:15 Amy and I dropped Luke and Aidan at school. We walked out to the playground with just James and Chloe. All of a sudden we looked at each other and went "Huh. It's quiet." I think this will take some getting used to! Oh, wait. I'm used to it now. That was easy. I helped Amy rearrange the furniture in their new rental (so CUTE) and suddenly, it was 2:30! We picked everyone up at 2:45 and hit Serendipity (our favorite little ice cream shop) for a celebratory ice cream.

Shawn was there in spirit - he was pretty bummed that he has to miss the first week of school, but he got invited to a manager's yearly kickoff in San Fran, and since he's not really an OFFICIAL manager yet, he figured that was a good thing. He should probably go. However, I'm sure he's heaping on the guilt as we speak. Really, babe - they're fine. No worries!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mama's new hair

So....what do you all think? It was time for a sleeker, chic-er me. That mop was getting downright unruly. Emma, if you read this, I LOVE IT! Thanks :)

before hair...

after hair...(excuse the extreme close up, and chloe's head poking out!)

The very last day of summer

Sad, is it not? It was the last day of summer today, and at the risk of sounding totally cliche, it did FLY by this year. When did 10 weeks get so short? Well, to celebrate (or console, one of the two) we decided to take the kids to the Portland Zoo today. We thought it might be TONS of traffic and super crowded, but guess what? God smiled on us today. No traffic, crowds were manageable, and we scored 3 (count 'emm THREE) up front parking places - at the zoo, at Washinton Square, AND at Trader Joe's. It was a good day!

Coming soon - first day of school pics. For BOTH boys!

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