Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall is officially here! Finally, the weather has turned cool and the days short. In the Comstock household, we've dusted off our scary spider, skeleton and Halloween mask decorations. Haley and I have been to the Trader Joes "pumpkin patch" (okay, so it isn't a true pumpkin patch, but she's only 6 months and I've been super busy and she'll never know) and our "fairytale" pumpkin choices are proudly displayed on our front porch. Just this morning we received another pumpkin, specially chosen for Haley by Auntie Julie, and it seems to complete our little arrangement!  

I thought these masks were so cute!

We're in a flurry of preparation for our 1st Halloween. Miss Haley has already grown out of her kitty cat costume I bought months ago,

so I had to make a last minute, rush shipping purchase.  Miss Priss will be donning a ladybug costume this year....if it arrives in time!

I'm a bit later than usually in my posting - we've had quite the busy week.  Work, thankfully, is incredibly hectic and I have 2 bids due early next week.  I really shouldn't even be posting right now, but I needed a tiny break so...

My mom, Brooke and I hosted the lovely Katie Flinn Gardner's shower last Saturday and it was such a ball.

Here is Katie showing off Lane's gift

 It was an intimate group, 13 in all (15 if you count Haley and Vincent). We decided on a jungle theme and it turned out perfectly! The invites were so adorable...."It's about to get wild at the Gardner house, Noah Flinn is on his way!" Here are a few pictures of the decor...

We used Haley's little Noah's Ark animals to decorate!

These were our favors...such a cute idea! 

Here is the invite under the glass dome and a tiny frame with a mat for all guests to sign

We had an idea to do 1st comes love (engagement picture), then comes marriage(wedding picture), then comes Noah in the baby carriage (sonogram picture).  I forgot to take a picture of it once we had the sonogram picture in, but you get the idea.

What a fun group of women (and Vincent)! Instead of games, I had the ladies compose Noah's 1st story book. I wrote the beginning and end of the pages and then the groups filled out the in between. Everyone also did an illustration. I am going to publish it and give it to Katie (hopefully before Noah gets here). It is such a cute story, I'll include it at the end of this post. We had a yummy lunch and cupcakes for dessert. Katie received some adorable gifts! We were so excited to be able to lend them Haley's bassinet. I had had the skirt monogrammed with Haley's initials before she was born and had Brooke do the same thing for Noah. Nancy (Katie's mom) sent a picture of it set up at their house.  

Here are a few pictures of the party guests...

At one point, Haley fell asleep on my mom...too cute!

My Aunt Jean made the most amazing quilt for Noah!  It was based on the brown bear book...

Okay, so most of these pictures have Haley, but what do you expect from a proud mom!

Chris had quite the weekend reliving college days with Kevin, Casey and Brian. I'm sure I don't know half of what actually happened, but I do know Chris was in quite a damaged state when he got home. He did manage to send the most adorable picture of him standing outside the Orinda Theater, the spot of our first date, with a caption reading "thinking of you." Okay, he is pretty cute!

As is usual after a rough weekend, he gave up alcohol. The ban lasted exactly 4 days. We attended the Justin wine dinner at the Palms with my parents and the Days last night. What a fun and yummy dinner with fab wine! Janet is my "real" mother who had an affair with my dad, got pregnant with Lane and me and let my parents adopt us. Or so the story goes...I told that to a friend once while introducing her to Janet and she thought the story was true! Anyhow, Janet is one of the funniest, honest, nicest most generous people I know. She is such a kick in the pants and I LOVE when we get to see her and Mr. Day. She has already spoiled Haley ROTTEN!

We have conquered rice cereal (sort of) and are on to carrots this week.....

Until next time....

The Story of Noah the Fantastic
Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lived a little boy named Noah. Noah lived at the top of an extraordinarily tall grand palm in a tiny tree house with his amazing and talented parents - Jason the Mighty, a great and famous explorer well known for mountain climbing and camel riding, and Katie the Flexible, a spiritual priestess beloved for her work with Buddhist monks and circus performers. Noah was very proud of his parents and always most looked forward to bedtime when they would tell him tales of their many adventures. He only wished he could go along exploring or climbing mountains or working with circus folk. Most of all, however, he wanted to be Noah the....well, Noah the something. He hadn't quite figured it out yet. He never mentioned this to his parents, or anyone else for that matter, but begged and pleaded to join them on their excursions. Much to his dismay, they said he was too little to be gallivanting on mountains and tightropes and, perhaps, he could come along in a year or two.

One weekend, when his parents were away he decided he would invite his cousins Vinny and Nathan to play with him in his magical tree house. It should be mentioned here that Noah’s home was, of course, magical. How else could one explain two and a half grown people living in a one room, one bathroom space? Besides the expanding properties of the tree house, the kitchen housed a secret set of buttons, hidden behind the spice rack, which could make the house do crazy things. Once, when his mother was in a particularly silly mood, she had pushed the “gold at the end of the rainbow” button and the tree house had transported them to Candyland, where they had spent a very interesting Wednesday with tiny green men. But that was another story. Vinny and Nathan were thrilled to be invited and, once they had arrived and were strapped into the floral couch (Jason the Mighty had bolted it to the kitchen floor and outfitted with seatbelts for these sorts of occasions), Noah slid back the spice rack, pressed a button marked “Topsey Turvey,” and they were off! The tiny tree top house started spinning wildly. Noah, Vinny and Nathan held on tightly to the floral couch until the spinning slowed and the kitchen righted itself. The boys unstrapped themselves and hurried to the windows to see when the house had taken them.

They recognized the place immediately, for it was one of their favorite destinations. “Beanville!” they cried in unison and rushed out the door. But something was wrong. They noticed the town was deserted, which was very unlike the hopping place they knew and loved. “I wonder where everyone is” said Vinny. They all agreed to investigate. After what seemed like hours, they found that the mean Lizard Prince was forcing the villagers to eat only broccoli and brussels sprouts. He had captured their Princess Brenna and was keeping her in his rock castle’s dungeon. As they tried to figure out what to do Haley, the Good Fairy, floated down from her pink cloud in the sky. “Hello boys, it seems we are in quite the predicament here.” They agreed and asked for her help. “I can lead you to the Lizard Prince’s lair, but the rest will be up to you. Fairies cannot cross the rock boundary.” So Haley led them to the rock castle and wished the boys the best of luck. “Isn’t there anything else you can do for us?” asked Nathan. “Well,” thought Haley, “I can cast a true bravery spell on you. But it only works if there is truly bravery in your heart. If not, the consequences could be horrible!” Noah, Nathan and Vinny all looked at each other, then back at Fairy Haley. “Let’s do it!” they cried. So she took out her magical wand and waved it over the boys. Instantly, they became the mighty threesome! They thanked the fairy and hurtled over the twenty foot rock wall protecting the Lizard Prince’s castle. A battle ensued, but the Prince was no match for the brave boys. They soon defeated him and his army of snakes and freed Princess Brenna. The Lizard Prince slithered into a crack in the rocks, never to be seen again.

Noah, Vinny and Nathan had defeated the Lizard Prince and saved the villagers! They threw a huge celebration party for them that very night. There were trays of cookies and cakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, fountains of green fruit punch and even blue bubblegum ice cream, Noah’s very favorite treat.

Unfortunately, Noah consumed far too much ice cream and woke up with a stomach ache. The bubble gum was still dancing in his tummy. Every time he opened his mouth, blue bubbles came floating out. Soon the tiny tree house was full of sticky, blue bubblegum bubbles. Noah found the sewing kit his Grandma Jean the Crafty had left in case of sewing emergencies, pulled out a very long and sharp stick pin and began to pop all the bubbles. Unfortunately, as the bubblegum bubbles popped, they stuck to Noah and soon he was covered in stretchy bubblegum and couldn’t move. Luckily, Noah had learned a super secret way to escape from such a situation from his father who, not coincidentally, knew everything there was to know about duct tape.

Noah was nearly free from his bubblegum binds when he heard someone far below shout, “THEY’RE HERE! THEY’RE HERE! THE PIRATES ARE HERE!” This could only mean one thing. The pirates would come to his island only if they were on their way south, towards the Land of All and the fleet of the Imperial Army. Without a second thought, Noah strapped on his REI life vest and loaded extra raisins into his kiddy kayak. He called for his trusty sidekick, Madison the dog, and headed out the door. He remembered in the nick of time to grab his waterproof pinochle cards, just in case he got the chance to win some pirate “booty” with his strategic card playing skills. Just as they were nearly to the beach Noah cried “Oh, no! I forgot my $2,000 satellite telephone to call my mom. She will kill me if I don’t call soon.” Noah sent Madison after the phone and launched his kayak in to the salty ocean surf. Madison was a very good paddler and would catch up in no time. Noah paddled for the pirate ship on the horizon, not sure yet what his plan was. Trusty Madison had retrieved the phone and soon he and Noah were approaching the huge, black ship, it’s skull and crossbones flag flapping ominously. Just as Noah was deciding how best to board the ship he realized his kayak was stuck in something. The pirate’s fishing nets! He grabbed Madison and the phone (of course) and scaled the side of the ship. Luckily, the crew hadn’t seen them and Noah tip toed down the steps to the cargo hold beneath. And so, Noah, Madison and the satellite phone where stowed secretly away as the pirates set sail to raid the fleet of the Imperial Army.

Noah loved adventure, but this week was certainly beyond anything he could have imagined. First, the Lizard Prince, then the bubble gum, then the pirates and now a battle was raging on the deck above as the Imperial Army attempted to defend their fleet. Noah was not about to let the pirates win and so he devised a plan to save the day.

Noah waited until the sun had gone down and the battle had stopped for the day. He made sure he saw the pirate Captain head to his quarters and then waited outside his door until he heard his loud snores. Noah bound the Captain with the duct tape he always carried with him then sawed off the Captain’s wooden leg off using his own sword. As he was leaving, he stuck left over chewing gun in the lock and shut the door behind him. Next, he crept past night watch man into the galley to scrounge up some vitals. He hadn’t eaten since the villager’s party and his tummy was grumbling. He quickly made himself a PB&J. Just as he was cutting the crusts off, he heard someone coming. He stuffed the sandwich into his pocket and headed for the backstairs exit. He had his foot on the first step when a thought occurred to him. He whirled around, found the items he was looking for and disappeared up the steps just as a couple of tipsy pirates, stumbled in. His plan now clear in his head, Noah whistled for Madison and they climbed up to the crows nest to await daybreak.

Soon the sun was rising and the pirate crew began to pace the decks. Noah and Madison waited for just the right moment when they launched balloons filled with vinegar and red pepper oil down towards the startled crew. Just as Noah had planned, the mixture blinded the men and chaos erupted. Pirates were running into each other, stumbling off the gangplank and hitting their heads on the masts. Successful, Noah did a triple lux, downward dog, spiral summersault onto the deck of the lead Imperial ship. Madison hopped into the water and followed Noah. Three cheers went up for the mighty duo. Noah smiled broadly and Madison barked excitedly. And so the Captain of the Imperial Army himself made a low bow to Noah and Madison, thanked them for saving the fleet and begged them to be the guests of honor at a ball being hosted by Her Majesty, the Queen of All. He assured Noah they would, of course, serve all his favorites, and would have dancing and fireworks and maybe a parade. Noah thanked the Captain, but said he had had quite enough excitement, and blue bubblegum ice cream, to last him at least a month and would the Captain mind very much just dropping him off on their way back to port. The Captain reluctantly agreed and Noah was soon back at his tiny, magical, treetop house. His mother and father had missed Noah very much and were so happy to have him home. As he was tucked into his cozy hammock, it was his turn to tell them of his adventures. And so Jason the Mighty and Katie the Flexible listened and ohhhed and ahhhhed in all the appropriate places. When he had finished and was drifting off to sleep, for he was very tired from all the excitement, he heard them whisper, “We are so very proud and love you so very much our little Noah the Fantastic.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vincent's Arrival and Other Weekend Happenings...

Well....Mr. Vincent Alexander Camarena is finally here! He made his debut in the world last Thursday at 3:55 in the afternoon and was welcomed by mom, dad, Aunt Natalie and Grandma Joyce.

Sadly, I was in LA at an event with my grandma, mom and Aunt Jeanie and wasn't able to visit at the hospital (it didn't help that Brooke had the quickest checkout after delivery ever). So Friday, my mom, Haley, Aunt Jeanie and I picked up some goodies at Sam's deli and headed to the Camarena home to be the first to welcome Vincent there!

He is such a little peanut! Miss Haley looked so big compared to him! I don't ever remember her being that tiny, much less smaller! Brooke is doing fantastically well and had actually just returned from running errands when we arrived. I couldn't believe it...a mere 24 hours before she had being giving birth and now was out and about! Their little family seems to be adjusting well and we are so thrilled to welcome the new Camarena into our family!

Quite coincidentally, Katie Flinn’s cousin Katie Blunt (couzzzieee) was in the hospital at the same time as Brooke and had little baby Grady Blunt a few hours later. Congrats Blunt Family! We can’t wait to meet the new addition!  I so LOVE this picture...

Friday we had dinner with my parents and Father Peter. He is a semi-retired priest that spends his winters in Peru and summer in the States. It is always a bit humbling to be in the presence of someone who does such good works. He runs an orphanage for the abandoned girls and boys of Lima. He made quite an impression on both me and Chris. He is a Christian in the true sense of the word.

Saturday, Chris had his first Fresno State Rugby game. He has taken on some coaching duties for the new team...because he has so much time in between work, rugby practice, being the rugby club president, studying for his accreditation and, oh that's right, being a new dad! Anyhow, the team did not fare well and Chris was a bit grumpy after the game...

Meanwhile, Haley and I attended the wedding of the son of one of Ashwood's PMs. It was a lovely ceremony at St. Anthony's and the backyard reception that followed was very fun. Chris managed to rally and meet us at the reception. We even fit in a few dances before we turned in for the night.

Our early evening served us well as we met my parents early the next morning to close the cabin. 8am mass, a quick breakfast and we were off to Huntington. It only took a few hours to close the cabin for winter. I think it is the most depressing day in the entire year for my mom! Once we said our goodbyes to our summer retreat we returned to flat land and treated ourselves to Mexican food and ice cream cones!

Miss Haley is offically on rice cereal now. I have to feed it to her twice a day and she really isn't all that interested. I can't believe my little girl has grown up so quickly! Almost 6 months has passed since she was born and our love for her keeps growing everyday we have her in our lives. She is such a joy and blessing (well...maybe not exactly a JOY at 7:45pm when both Chris and I are exhausted and she decides screaming would be a fun passtime, but you get the idea). She will always be our first, our gift from God that made us a family and we are so thankful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shots and showers...oh my!

First, let me say how much I ADORE the rain and cold weather of late...what a fantastic break after months and months of heat. Not to say I don't love Fresno summers, honestly I do. But when the weather turns cold and fall is in the air it signals the beginning of holiday parties, hot apple cider, pumpkin patch visits, Christmas tree hunting, breaking out the old secret recipe for Conway family wedding balls and, most importantly, lots of friends and family! This year will hold many a "first" for us with Miss Haley and I'm nearly holding my breath in anticipation!
Speaking of Miss Priss, we had our 4 month check up on Friday. Yes, she is nearly 5 and a half months, but I neglected to put her original 4 mo. appointment on the calendar and we had missed it by the time I realized and our peds doctor is so fantastic and, therefore, busy and since Haley was "well", it was the very earliest appointment I could get. Bad mom...I know...I won't even mention the slipping out of my lap onto a plastic box and sustaining a nose/under the eye cut....that one I'm saving for child protective services...

All home before the doctors

So, she is growing fantastically well. She in the 98th percentile for height (27.75 inches) and about average for weight (14 lbs 12 oz) and head size (I know, I know...who knew it was possible with Christopher for a father). The doctor said she was really very alert and strong and that she was pleased with her growth.

At the doctor's office
She also told me to start solids in a few weeks which I think Haley is really ready for since she has started waking up during the night again because she is STARVING even though I'm putting rice cereal in a bottle and boobing her after the bottle... Anyhow, mom needs her sleep, so we may start solids a week or so early!

After our doctor's appointment, Haley and I headed over to Cupcakes to pick up some yummy treats for my cousin Katie's bridal shower on Saturday. Carrot cake and lemon...mmmmm good! We then were off to the compound (my mom and dads) to help put together favors.

Saturday we packed up the car and drove to Hanford for the shower. My Aunt Lisa and Uncle Rick have a beautiful home and the fall theme Lisa had chosen was just lovely. All rusts, and golds and browns...
Aunt Mary (MOB), Katie (bride) & the hosts - my mom, me (+1), Aunt Jean & Aunt Lisa

Miss Haley couldn't take all the excitement & fell asleep in the library

My pretty cousins

3 generations

I can't take credit for all the fancy boarder/black and white pics, my Aunt Lisa took those. The weather was warmer than expected, but the turnout, as with all Conway functions, was fantastic. We had such a fun time celebrating Katie's impending nuptials.

Sunday, despite Christopher's hangover, we met my parents for mass, reunited with our Miss Haley and headed home for a lazy remainder of the day, football and all.

My little football fans