Tuesday, January 4, 2011

December 2010 Feature Photo of the Month

In front of the Christmas Tree
There truly is something magical about experiencing Christmas through the eyes of a child. This year was in many ways, Ivy's first Christmas, in terms of being able to understand more of what was going on. I would say she certainly caught on to the idea of "presents" quite quickly and the enjoyment of opening them! We kicked off the month with Westmont's annual Christmas tree lighting, complete with pictures with Santa, cider and cookies and carols from one of the choirs here on campus. The month was full of parties, making fudge, receiving more goodies than we knew what to do with, and preparing our hearts for Christ's coming. Ivy helped me decorate our Christmas tree this year. Being 8 months pregnant, I took the simpler route on many traditions, and decided to go for a very non-busy tree. We put on white lights, and some straw ornaments. I let her decide where to put them and they all sort of ended up in one small little area at the bottom of the tree. It was spectacular. And it was nice to have less ornaments to take down! We were in desperate need of our 3 week break and were so excited to finally pull away from campus in the pouring rain on December 18, car filled to the brim with all we would need to survive away from home for 11 days with family down south.
We spent December 18th - 23rd at my mom's house in La Canada. Many hours were spent indoors due to all the storms. We read, worked on the computer, visited with friends and welcomed my sister Molly and her friends who caroled at our house. A tradition they have kept going since high school! We had a wonderful celebration together, with Molly, Em & Luke and my Grandfather George Gordon. (Turning 100 in March) He re-finished my childhood rocking chair and gave it to Ivy for Christmas. It was a very special gift from an incredible man. We left on the 23rd and made our way further south to Placentia to spend time with Jon's family. We were especially excited to reconnect with Jon's oldest brother Nate, his wife Mailin, and their two boys, Luka (3.5) and
Mikah (7 mo.) The last time we had seen them, Luka was 1.5 years old. And we had never met Mikah! It was great to be all together as a family for the first time in many years. We enjoyed trips to the park, and attending a theater in the round production of "Peter Pan", complements of Roxanne.We loved being with all of Jon's family, including sister Abbi, and brother Dan, who is married to Hannah. Dan is now a firefighter and he welcomed us to his station in Stanton on Christmas Eve. We took basket rides up in the truck and had Christmas Eve dinner at the station. It was great.
We had a wonderful time, and were also ready to return home. For our birthday gift, Roxanne kept Ivy a few days longer at her house. Jon and I returned to Santa Barbara alone, and had some much needed together time. We nursed our colds, got fabulous Mexican take-out, watched some movies, and had 2 Ivy-free mornings and nights. It was wonderful. We also began tackling a few items on our to-do lists, in preparation for Baby Young! Roxanne brought Ivy back to us on New Year's Eve day. Our New Year's was the quietest we've had in a while. With all three of us under the weather and just needing some R&R, we gladly hunkered down for pizza and a movie and spent the first day of 2011 at home resting and watching some football.
We are looking forward to what this new year will bring, and are especially excited to meet baby. We continue to talk about "when the baby" comes with Ivy, and to have baby related conversations about what the baby will eat, that when it cries it means it's hungry or tired, and that she is going to get to be a big sister. She seems excited on this side of things. But I am sure once baby is here and needing to be held by mom and dad much of the time, we will be singing a different tune. But I am sure she will do just fine. We are in for a full month in January, with me celebrating my 35th on the 18th and Jon's 37th b-day on January 28th, and baby probably somewhere in between! Stay tuned for the arrival of Baby Young: sex still to be revealed and name yet to be determined!

November 2010 Feature Photo of the Month

Face Painting
While at a friend's birthday party, Ivy took a special interest in the older children who were having their face painted. The artist explained that typically older children do better sitting still while their face is being worked on. She said that the younger ones usually like to see what is happening, and she would be happy to paint something on Ivy's arm. After further questioning, it was determined that we would attempt the face! Ivy sat in Dad's lap and sat quite still, enjoying the process in her solemn way. The end result was so beautiful, complete with green leaves curling in and amongst the petals.
November 14 marked 3 months that Claire has been gone, and 11 years since my dad passed away. We remember these incredible people with all our hearts. We miss you Claire and Paul.

Ocotber 2010 Feature Photo of the Month

Trip to Lane Farms Pumpkin Patch
October was another full month. We made it a priority to visit one of our local pumpkin patch sites which was complete with a corn maze, tractor rides, goats & sheep, and row upon row of bright orange pumpkins to run through. Ivy had a great time, exploring the colorful squash.
October 5, Ivy turned 2!~ We celebrated by picking a baby pumpkin that had been faithfully growing outside our cottage. We opened a few gifts that had come in the mail, and ended the day with cupcakes and candles. Jon's staff of 10 students joined us in singing Happy Birthday to Westmont's youngest resident. She LOVED blowing out the candles and I think enjoyed eating the cupcake even more. For Halloween, Ivy was a ladybug. We joined with our friends the Lees and the Sunukjians for some trick-or-treating around faculty housing. After the first few houses, Ivy really got the hang of things and kept turning around with a beaming face to hold up her little bucket of candy, exclaiming, "I GOT! I GOT!". Meaning, "Mom, Dad, LOOK WHAT I GOT! CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THIS?" She had a great time, and would have kept knocking on doors late into the night had we let her. A very satisfying first real Halloween experience.

September 2010 Feature Photo of the Month

Beach Baby
enjoying a day at Refugio Beach
September greeted us with full force as Westmont and it's crazy schedule really got underway.
In light of how constant the nature of Jon's job can be with living on campus and being available most of the time, we have been very proactive about taking our "weekend away" each month.
This month, we ventured into the world of camping with an almost 2 year old!
With the help of our favorite Uncle Danny Clapp, we loaded up enough gear for 10 people, and made our way up the road 20 min. to Refugio Beach Campsite.
We had a great time, but began to question our sanity after the second night.
Nevertheless, great memories were made and we now know we can do it!
I have to say we were all pretty happy to come home as well.

Remembering Claire: November 26, 1974 - August 14, 2010

Claire and I on my wedding day, July 10, 2004.
Probably one of my favorite photos, for many reasons.
Claire and Christina
Cam and Claire: my birthday Shoreline Park
January 20, 2008

Claire at my apartment, celebrating her birthday, a few days late!
December 4, 2009
Same day...
September 11, 2008
Ivy would be born in less than a month in this picture.
Claire, Christina, Meg: June 8, 2008
Claire and I at Shoreline Park for my birthday:
January 20, 2008

Claire holding Ivy: November 5, 2008
Ivy at 1 month
Dana, Claire, Ivy and I: July 29, 2009
Claire, Jon and Ivy: July 29, 2009
December 4, 2009
Elise (Claire's caregiver), Claire and Ivy: August 5, 2010,
9 days before she passed away.
Cam and Claire at Ivy's dedication: April 2010
Claire and Ivy

Ivy feeding Claire grapes

August 2010 Feature Photo of the Month

In August it will be so hot
I will become a cooking pot
Cooking soup, of course, why not?
Cooking once, Cooking twice,
Cooking chicken soup with rice!

August was a month of joy as well as sorrow, with Claire's passing.
However, we still were able to smile at Ivy's antics and delight in her beautiful smile and curiosity.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Patriotic Ivy

July 2010 Feature Photo of the Month:
Ivy proudly holding the flag at the Solvang 4th of July Parade.

We celebrated this 4th with our long time friends, Doug and Linda Smith
at their home in Santa Ynez.
We had a burger making contest, tried our hand at fireworks in the backyard and
enjoyed some good hometown fun at the parade.
July was also our final month of vacation from Westmont responsibilities, so we made
the most of it: hiking, zoo, beach and lots of family time together.
We also purchased a new washer and dryer, which, after some initial hassles,
was also a summer highlight. I think I can honestly say I love doing laundry now.
After living in Ecuador (where laundry was a 45 minute bus ride away), then in Emerson, (where laundry was down the hall and shared with a hall of students), then to Armington (where laundry was housed on our back porch), we are LOVING having front loading w/d that are actually INSIDE our home. It feels so luxurious!!!
Feel free to come over and do a load anytime.