Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Other random pictures from this week:

This is what happens when mom doesn't do laundry. I count 4 different colors of blue and 3 different stripes. And yes, we did go out in public like this.

Ephraim's new trick is to wrap himself up like a burrito.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Giveaway Heaven

I don't know how many of you I brought over to the "dark side" of entering blog giveaways with my last giveaway post - but you NEED to check out Bloggy Giveaways this week. They are having a giveaway carnival and so far there are over 900 blogs that have linked to the site with giveaways. There are some really cool things that you can win - so go check it out! And if you win, you should have to share with me. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

160 gallons

Last weekend, Nate and Ramie graciously opened up their home to 40 people for a cider making party. We made 160 gallons and were limited in amount only by a lack of containers. It was beautiful weather and great for cider making.
My mom and Gracie.
Ephraim made a new friend - Sophia!
Giving it my all to crank the cider press. It was tough!
Hannah giving it a whirl.
Shara and Grace.
Forrest catching apples.
Merrick, Sophia and Grace in the back of the truck.
We ended the night with a bonfire. Perfect!

A 30th Birthday Extravaganza

Two weeks ago I turned 30. Yikes! To celebrate in style, we went to the Palm Springs of Washington - Yakima. Drew and Marisa, Merrick and Hannah, and Nate and Ramie drove 4 plus hours to join us. Brent and Hannah Noel joined us for the festivities as well (they live in Yakima so they didn't have to travel). On Saturday we went slightly crazy with apple picking. My cousins (also some of my favorite people ever) arranged for us to pick apples at two orchards as well as pick up some culls (rejects) from two warehouses. We filled up my dad's Chevy Avalanche, Nate's Toyota, and had 6 boxes of apples.
Forrest -very excited about picking an apple.
Gracie with Jim Parsley - he works at one of the warehouses and gave us a tour.
One of the huge cold storage rooms filled with boxes of pears ready to be shipped out. Jim told us this room had been completely full two days before, floor to ceiling - which indicates how fast they ship things out.
Ephraim hanging out in a crate full of apples.
Drew and Merrick picking apples out of the crate.
Mommy and Ephraim.
Grace being a big helper.
On Sunday, my uncle Jerry and aunt Fay came over and they took us to lunch at Red Robin. I was really excited for Ephraim to meet Jerry. He's my dad's brother and the only Forbes left of that generation since my Uncle Rex passed away a year before my dad did.
Uncle Jerry - can't you see the resemblance?
Fay playing with Ephraim.
Jacob and Ephraim hanging out. Ephraim actually is happy in this picture.
Ephraim chillin in a truck full of apples.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Honest Question

I am working on getting all of my apple weekend pictures put together - but in the meantime, I have a political question. I have been thinking a lot about the upcoming election. I have no desire to get into a debate with people, but I honestly don't understand something, and would like someone to explain it to me.

I would like to know why some view Obama's plan as being smart financially? I understand why people can choose to support Obama's social views (I don't agree with them), but I understand the philosophy behind them. What I don't get is why his tax plan makes any sense. Can somebody explain why they believe it does?


I tend to think of my dad a lot during elections. This was true even when he was alive. My dad was quite conservative - but he was open enough to dialogue with others who had very different views from him. My above question has a lot to do with my dad. He was a few tax brackets above Forrest and I and rightfully so. Neither of us went to med school, worked 60+ hours a week, at all hours of the day, and our jobs didn't hold people's lives in our hands. My dad was also one of the most generous people that I have ever met. According to Obama's tax plan, if my dad were still alive, he would be paying 25,000 to 75,000 dollars more in taxes each year. I find that to be absolutely ridiculous. My dad worked harder than anybody I know to get to where he was, and worked harder than anybody I know while he was alive. He already paid over 50% of his income in taxes - why should he pay any more? (he was a small business owner - therefore had to pay both sides of Social Security taxes for himself and employees which tipped him over 50%). When my dad died, my mom had to pay estate taxes. I don't understand those either. My dad paid taxes on everything already - why did my mom have to pay for something that had already been taxed just because my dad died?

Again... I don't want to debate, but desire to have a dialogue with people from opposing views so that I can better understand why Obama is a smart decision financially, so that if he does win in 2 weeks - I can at least say "I get it."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Battle: Sleep

Ephraim and I are in a sleep battle. So far he is DOMINATING! For those of you that don't know - Ephraim is not a great sleeper. He takes 30-45 minute naps. He currently eats every 3 hours. I would love to extend times between feedings, but he gets really fussy if he is up for more than 2 hours. Our biggest battle is bedtime. He has not slept through the night since we got back from Hawaii in the middle of August. I try to put him down around 8PM, although it is flexible depending on feeding times. He usually doesn't sleep for more than 3 hours at a time and nurses at least twice during the night. The biggest problem is I will bring him into bed to nurse and then I fall asleep, only to wake up an hour or so later and realize I never put him back to bed. If I try to move him, I usually end up waking him up and I start a whole new cycle.

Our pediatrician suggested putting him down when he was still awake, but drowsy. My crazy son decides that it is then play time. Even when I put him down and he is almost asleep. He then proceeds to play for about 15 minutes until he gets himself stuck in some crazy position. (this morning he got his head stuck between his crib and his crib toy that has lights and plays soft music.) When I pick him up and stick a pacifier in his mouth, he falls asleep instantly.

My current battle plan is this:
*Put Ephraim to bed sometime around 8
*When he wakes up - I am going to watch tv while I nurse him so that I don't fall asleep so he can go back in his crib
*Only feed him every three hours at night if necessary.

My eventual goal is to get him to sleep a minimum of 10 hours at night. Straight. Without any nursing. So mommy can get some quality sleep as well.

I am totally open to any suggestions, feedback, ideas. Please help! I am determined not to get beaten by my 6 month old!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

6 Months

Wow this month has flown by fast. I feel like I say that every month.
His 6 month stats are:
Height : 27 1/2 inches (84th Percentile)
Weight: 18 pounds, 6 ounces (67th Percentile)
Head: 16 3/4 inches (17th Percentile)
We went from having a short, skinny baby to a tall and chunky baby. His head is still small. It now makes sense why I am struggling to fasten his 9 month onesies.
He has learned several new tricks. He can roll over from his back to his tummy with ease. He still hasn't figured out how to roll over back on to his back though. He can blow bubbles, and make a funny sound with his tongue. He has been sick the past week with a cold and has now learned how to fake cough. If I am in another room I have to figure out if he is really choking on something or just faking. It has been faking every time. He can sit up, if by sitting up you mean not quite falling over. He's getting better though. I am wondering if he will start snowplowing like his friend Grace, because he gets his butt way up in the air when he is on his tummy.

Riding in Boppa's tractor.

We tried rice cereal on Tuesday. He is not really a fan yet - and I am not sure he has really eaten anything. We will try sweet potatoes next.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Children's Museum

On Saturday Colleen treated us all to The Portland Children's Museum. Elisa thoroughly enjoyed herself. She loved the store, the hospital, and Bob the Builder. I was amazed at how patient she was waiting her turn to do activities. Several times other kids would try to take her shopping cart, or cut in front of her trying to play the xylophone. It was a good thing Aunt Michelle was there to make sure that Elisa wasn't bullied.

Colleen and Sadie driving a bulldozer.
Michelle is having fun in a tractor.

Elisa is in the ambulance.
Ephraim chillin' in the sling.
Elisa climbing through a tunnel.
Ephraim "eating" Nana's chin. It is one of his new pastimes.

Elisa playing the xylophone.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

This is what happens when you let a tired Aunt Amy be in charge of dressing a 2 year old.
On Friday we went to Baggenstos Farms in Sherwood. Elisa and Grace had fun running through the hay maze. It was pretty rainy, so we didn't stay long. Afterwards we went to the Mall and went shopping. Elisa got a new stroller, and every child received a sheep from Bath and Body Works. Ephraim slept through the Pumpkin Patch and through most of the mall. He took a 3 hour nap! That had never happened before, and hasn't happened since.

We tried to get Grace and Elisa to stand next to each other underneath the umbrella, but they didn't quite get it.
Pretty Sadie.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Letter

Dear Daddy,

I can’t believe that it has already been a year. I have been thinking about you a lot this past week – I think about you all the time, but I have a lot of memories of the last time I saw you. Remember how we were in Yakima and picking apples? It was such a fun, goofy, time. You showed us your slide show of Afghanistan that you were going to be presenting. Forrest still has all of the pictures on his laptop. Jerry and Forrest were fascinated, but Nate and Jimmy couldn’t really look at them. Forrest and I had brought our ultrasound pictures of Ephraim and you enjoyed looking at them. That Sunday we went to Vickie’s CafĂ© – I have so many memories of going there with you when I was little and ordering hot chocolate. Do you remember telling Nate and Ramie your story. I love the story about how you were the child of migrant farmers and went to college and med school. You lived the American Dream Daddy. You talked about how people from Cowiche didn’t think you could make it and wondered why you were even trying. You said you weren’t going to let others dictate what you wanted. I was/am SO proud of you. When we left that morning, Forrest and I stopped at the gas station in Naches and you and mom stopped too. You were so goofy and I was pregnant and hungry so you bought me white chedder popcorn. That was the last time I saw you. You and mom stopped at the hamburger joint to eat – Forrest and I didn’t know where you were going, but we would have stopped with you if we had known. It would have been another memory in my memory bank.

October 1st last year started off being so exciting. Remember how Forrest and I had an ultrasound that morning? I called you right after we were done and told you that the tech had to keep hitting my stomach with the wand to get the baby to move, and the baby would flail then go back into a little ball. You got such a kick out of that. I love that I can tell Ephraim that my last conversation with you was about him. It is so special to me. Then when I went to work I got three phone calls in a row from Ryan, Erik and then Colleen. I decided to answer Leener’s and my really exciting day turned into a nightmare. I couldn’t believe it and in so many ways I still can’t believe it.

We drove down to Oregon that night so we could fly out first thing in the morning. You would have gotten a kick out of Marisa and Hannah, Daddy. They were grieving with me and wanted to help – all I could think about was the bazillions of apples that needed to make it down to Salem the next weekend. They came to Frank and Lona’s at 10PM and we loaded Marisa’s car up with apples. I am sure that you were in heaven smiling at us as we did that.

Your service was amazing Daddy. You were so loved by so many people. I loved that your testament touched so many. The gym was full. Pastor Steeg preached the Gospel in such a good way – we wanted others to know how much you loved Jesus – and I think we pulled that off.

So many things have happened this past year Dad – and you have been a part of all of them, even though you aren’t here. My birthday – I sat in the airport crying as we were on the way to Hawaii. I am sure people didn’t understand. Why would you cry going to Hawaii? I understand crying when you leave, but not on the way there. ☺ Forrest was terrific though and SO supportive. You always knew he was a good egg. We were in Napili for a few days and I was nice to remember being there as a family.

Your service in Oregon was terrific too. Such a beautiful day and it was nice to have full military honors again. You deserved it. You can see three mountains from where you are buried – it is beautiful.

Little Sadie was born in November, the day before Thanksgiving. It was like God knew that holiday would be difficult so he gave us Sadie to be excited about. She is so beautiful Daddy, and has such a great smile. The day after your birthday Forrest and I found out we were having a little boy. We knew you would be so excited to have a grandson. Forrest and I spent the next 18 weeks figuring out what his first name would be – we already knew his middle name would be Alvis. It’s not as easy as you think to come up with a name that goes with Alvis. ☺

We were all together over Christmas and missed you terribly. We could see your smile as we tossed wrapping paper over the couch. Ryan did fantastic in track this year. You would have been so proud of him at Nationals – he handled himself with such class – just like you would have. Michelle went off to Europe and had quite the adventure – you should be so proud of Mommy, she didn’t worry at all.

Ephraim Alvis was born in April. He looks so much like me Daddy, which means he looks a lot like you. He is so sweet. He has big blue eyes and loves to take everything in. He is very content, just like his dad and Boppa. He is very much his Boppa’s and father’s child – he likes softball. I take him to Forrest’s games and he follows the game! He watches the batter and then follows them as they run to first base. I know you smile at him when he does that. I see baseball games in my future. Maybe he will be a pitcher like you and Forrest.

This year has gone so fast Daddy. I still feel like you should walk through the door holding your giant Baja Fresh cup and your big smile. We spent a lot of time on the River this summer and knew that you would have been having so much fun. You should see all of the work that Mom and Ryan have put in to the yard. It looks great. I hear your voice all of the time Dad, and it still doesn’t seem real that you are not here. I miss you tons. I know that you are enjoying yourself with Jesus and I feel a little selfish wanting you here, when God wants you there. Give Jesus a hug for me.

I love you,